941

Canto de esperanza/Song of Hope

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

To leave the security of worship and enter the world for service requires firm confidence in the faithful promises of God to be with us, to care for us and bless us. Our deepest assurance comes from the comfort we have that “I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1). Because I belong to him, “he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends upon me in this sad world. God is able to do this because he is almighty God and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26). We have the assurance that “our Lord speaks to us now through the inspired Scriptures. Christ is with us day by day” (Our Song of Hope, Stanza 1). How rich it is to carry such assurance of his blessing with us as we leave the service of worship!

Introductory/Framing Text

As we sing this song, we are reminded that although Christ has come already, and God’s full reign is imminent, we are still waiting, struggling, praying, and celebrating as we work faithfully together – in hope – for the world God loves.

Tune Information

Name
ARGENTINA
Key
G Major or modal
Meter
11.11.11.11 refrain 7.7.7.7

Musical Suggestion

Introduce the refrain the first week as a prayer response. Piano and guitar provide the best accompaniment. For week two, use the entire hymn, introduced again by guitarists, perhaps as a sermon response or closing hymn. By week three children from church school or a choir could present the refrain in Spanish.
 
The harmonic pattern is consistent throughout both verse and chorus for each phrase. Playing that pattern in half notes four times will take you through the entire song:
  • This repetitive harmony presents a perfect opportunity to process with handbells, handchimes, and/or Orff instruments. Mark all G, B, and D instruments with quarter-inch round red labels; all A, C, E with blue; and all D, F-sharp, A, C with yellow. Playing a red, red, blue, blue, yellow, yellow, red, red sequence in half-note rhythm produces the harmonic foundation. The children, youth, or adults can learn the sequence in about ten minutes. Volunteers can play and process on an extended introduction and can also accompany the singing.
 
If you use handbells for the procession, the ringers can vary the style of the chordal accompaniment from the following suggestions once they arrive at the tables. (Please note that each verse and refrain statement should end with a rhythm of a half note in the last measure. An anthem setting of "Song of Hope," arranged by Tom Mitchell, is available from Choristers Guild (CGA 638) for unison voices with keyboard, percussion, and optional vocal and instrumental descants. The melody is consistent with the congregational version, so a concertato setting can be arranged with the congregation joining on cue, or through instructions in the worship bulletin.
 
Use your imagination with this hymn! Teach the congregation the Spanish text, especially the refrain, using it as a response on World Communion Sunday (October) to emphasize our musical ties with Christians of other cultures.
 
In some congregations the commissioning of volunteers or church school teachers takes place in September worship. Use "Song of Hope," especially the refrain, as a sung response in a litany of commissioning, or as a response to a commissioning segment.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 40)
— Mary Jane Voogt

Hymn Story/Background

This song from Argentina is the result of a group effort involving North and South American Christians. The first stanza was written in Spanish and was first translated into English in 1984; the second was written in English. The song combines God’s blessing with his call to work for justice and peace. Many children all over the world have a “load of life that is hard to bear” (st. 2). Those “loads” may involve broken families, violence, illness, poverty, and hunger. Singing this song of hope gives us courage and helps us to bear each other’s burdens in our own communities and throughout the world.

Author Information

This anonymous Argentinian folk song was translated by Alvin Schutmaat (b. Colombia, 1921; d. 1988), who received a doctorate from Edinburgh University with a concentration in Latin American literature and education. Often a consultant as an artist using the arts to communicate the gospel, he taught theology and music at the Presbyterian Seminary in Bogata and at the Latin American Biblical Seminary in Costa Rica.
 
Tom Mitchell (b. 1943) added a stanza for his choral setting published by the Choristers Guild (CGA 638); this setting is derived from his anthem.
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.