452

Pues si vivimos (When We Are Living)

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This humble, poignant song recognizes the presence of suffering and death in the midst of life, but affirms that in it all – in living and dying, in giving and receiving, in suffering and rejoicing – we belong to God.
 
Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:
  • Belgic Confession, Article 15 teaches that “…by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race…a corruption of the whole human nature...” As a result, God’s people are “guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all [our] ways” (Article 14). In addition, “The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions” (Article 12).
  • Our World Belongs to God continues to affirm that “God has not abandoned the work of his hands,” nevertheless “our world, fallen into sin, has lost its first goodness...” (paragraph 4). And now “all spheres of life—family and friendship, work and worship school and state, play and art—bear the wounds of our rebellion” (paragraph 16).
Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13 is a reminder that God’s providence reassures us that God leads and governs all in this world “according to his holy will…nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.” Further, this Confession identifies that this “gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father, who watches over us with fatherly care...in this thought we rest.”
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13, is a reminder that much is beyond human understanding and so “we do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 we testify that we “trust God so much that [we] do not doubt that he will provide whatever [we] need for body and soul and will turn to [our] good whatever adversity he sends upon [us] in this sad world.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28, we are assured that through our trust in the providence of God we can have “good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”
  • When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask not to be brought into the time of trial but rescued from evil. In doing so we ask that the Lord will “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 127)
Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”
 
No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
 
In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).
 
No hope is stronger than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: we “…belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…because I belong to him, Christ by His Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life...”
 
The basic perspective of hope is expressed in Belgic Confession, Article 37 “…the Lord will make them (us) possess a glory such as the human heart could never imagine. So we look forward to that day (of Christ’s return) with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 15, Question and Answer 42 clarifies what may be misunderstood when it says that even though Christ died for us, we still have to die, but “our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.” Additionally, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 explains that Christ’s resurrection “is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Questions and Answers 57 and 58 speak reassurances about the actual event of dying: “Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but also my very flesh will be raised by the power of Christ, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body,” and “even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58).
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 56 summarizes our hope by testifying, “We long for that day when our bodies are raised, the Lord wipes away our tears, and we dwell forever in the presence of God. We will take our place in the new creation, where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, and the Lord will be our light. Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
452

Pues si vivimos (When We Are Living)

Tune Information

Name
SOMOS DEL SEÑOR
Key
F Major or modal

Musical Suggestion

The melody reaches its highest point with the text in the third line, preparing for the double affirmation, “We belong to God,” in the refrain. This song’s gentle but forceful presence will be felt most effectively without percussion. It can be accompanied with improvised arpeggios on piano or guitar. It is best not to slow down at the end of each stanza; allow the pulse to continue as you move from one stanza to another. Consider trying to sing in two-part harmony, following the parallel motion for altos or tenors. That kind of parallel motion is typical of many Spanish songs. 
452

Pues si vivimos (When We Are Living)

Hymn Story/Background

This moving and compelling Mexican folk hymn fist appeared in four stanzas in Spanish and English, selection 39 in Celebremos II, 1983. Gertrude C. Suppe has traced the discovery of the hymn:
 
In February 1980, after a church meeting in La Trinidad United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA, I saw a woman standing off to one side by herself. I got acquainted with her and found that she was visiting from Mexico. I asked if she remembered any of the songs they used to sing in her church in Mexico. She did, and her sister, Ana Maria Domingues, sang a number of simple songs, which I taped on the spot. “Pues si vivimos” was one of them, and I later presented it to the Celebremos II committee for consideration (Correspondence with Carlton R. Young, July 1991).
 
The first stanza is based on Romans 14:7-8:
 
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourseleves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so, then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
 
The additional stanzas by Roberto Escamilla are elaborations of John 15:8: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples,” blended with the passage from Romans and composed for Celebremos, 1983. Since the English words in Celebremos were essentially an independent poem, Escamilla’s moving and powerful stanzas were translated for the United Methodist Hymnalby George Lockwood.
 
The hymn is suitable for times of remembrance and new beginnings, for example graveside committals, baptisms, or weddings. The stanza may be sung in Spanish and/or English accompanied by a guitar. 
— United Methodist Hymnal Companion

Author and Composer Information

Elise S. Eslinger (b. 1942) was music editor of Celebremos II (1983), a collection of songs from Latin America, Spain, and the United States produced by the United Methodist Church. As editor, she very possibly prepared this harmonization.

Roberto Escamilla (b. Mexico, 1931) was the text editor for that same collection. George Lockwood was a missionary to Costa Rica and became very interested in Spanish songs and hymns; he has translated many Spanish texts, thus making them accessible to English-speaking congregations. 
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