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610. God Is My Rock

Text Information
First Line: You still call us to walk in paths of justice
Title: God Is My Rock
Spanish Title: El Señor Es Mi Fuerza
Author: Juan A. Espinosa (1978)
Refrain First Line: God is my rock and my salvation (El Señor es mi fuerze, mi roca y salvaciόn)
Meter: 11 6 11 6 with refrain
Language: English; Spanish
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ;
Topic: Society/Social Concerns; Songs for Children: Hymns; Texts in Two Languages (1 more...)
Notes: © 1973 Juan A. Espinosa, admin. OCP
Tune Information
Composer: Juan A. Espinosa (1978)
Meter: 11 6 11 6 with refrain
Key: d minor
Notes: © 1973 Juan A. Espinosa, admin. OCP

Text Information:

Scripture References:
ref. = Ps. 46: 1
st. 1 = Ps. 23:3
st. 2 = Ps. 23:4

Juan S. Espinosa (b. Villafranca de los Barros, Spain, 1940) wrote the original Spanish text and composed the tune in 1969. It was first published in Madrid in 1970 in El Señor Es Mi Fuerza, his most significant song collection, which included forty-two liturgical songs written both in Spain and in northern Peru, where Espinosa worked with peasants. Espinosa has said that he "composed to offer the Christian communities in their liturgical expression a few songs in consonance with the new spirit of Vatican II." Espinosa, who earned a degree in theology and philosophy and also studied music, published a number of song collections. The English translation was published in Celebremos II (1983), a Hispanic hymnal of the United Methodist Church in the United States.

This hymn is based on Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though
the earth give way. . . .
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

As in the biblical psalm, the four stanzas of this text express an unshaken trust in God's guidance and protection of his people, especially when they face turmoil, injustice, and life's other trials. Thus the text is a testimony of confident faith, sure hope, and mutual encouragement. In the biblically proper sense of the term, this is a hymn text of "liberation theology."

Liturgical Use:
As is true of Psalm 46, this hymn fits many occasions of worship; useful for Old/New Year services, but especially at prayer services for justice and peace and urban ministries.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

FUERZA is the Spanish word for "fortress" or "refuge" (see both Psalm 46 and the text). The repeated refrain or antiphon is intended for unison singing, but the melody of the stanzas suggests two-part singing in typically Spanish parallel thirds. Try using a duet or two-part choir on the stanzas and have everyone sing the refrain. Since the stanzas are rather high and the refrain rather low, have the congregation sing the refrain and a duet or two-part choir sing the stanzas. Also, since the refrain is repeated each time, try to sing the refrain in English the first time through and repeat it in Spanish.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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