When we are living, we are in the Lord
Source: Singing the Faith: 485
Words: Robert Escamilla trans John L. Bell
Music: “Somos del senor”
Roberto Escamilla was born in 1931 near Monterry, Mexico, close to the border with Texas. The first verse of “When we are living” (from the Spanish “Pues Si Vivimos”) was one he learned as a young boy. It is based on Romans 14:8: “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.” It is a statement that offers a strong sense that, if we are living in a way that focuses closely on God’s love, then nothing else really matters.
Verses 2 to 4 were written when Roberto was in his early fifties, out of an experience of real uncertainty about his future career. To the idea of always endeavouring to be Christ-like, he added the importance of giving and receiving in our Christian lives: of giving and receiving love through service (v.2), and of giving and receiving through our sorrow and questioning (v.3).
The hymn concludes with an affirmation that echoes St Paul’s declaration elsehere in his letter to the Romans, that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 38-39). “Hard times will prove us, never remove us;” writes Roberto Escamilla, “we belong to God, we belong to God.”