The following is a poem by regular Anabaptist Witness contributor H.J. Recinos. He writes: I wrote the poem Old Gospel Hour to reflect on how many churches reject the browning of the pews.  I hope this poem reminds Christians to bear witness to their Crucified Lord by crossing the boundaries of difference. The Word made flesh is nothing less than God’s great border crossing into our world, the divine act of a God who weeps with us, a Crucified, rejected and scorned redeemer from what is in today’s vernacular speech named a community of color.    


I went to the church with
the altar that is marked by

a Cross surrounded by aged
air and closed my eyes tightly

after overhearing my brown
skin that so many of us have is

unwelcome. I did not ask for prayer
for the sick, the dying, the widow,

the orphan, the hungry, the imprisoned,
the rejected, the poor and scorned, but

felt each stare from those paid to
implore divine mercy. Among the

crowd the clergy believed so highly
placed, the most high did not appear

to make the necessary rounds. I sat
in the service steered by a gospel of

their own making talking to my
brown Crucified Lord saying I do

still believe your blood was not vainly
spent.  Then, rising for a blessing that

passed far overhead, I vaulted the
worship space weeping in silence.


Recinos is professor of Church and Society at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Since the early-1980s, Harold Recinos has worked with the Salvadoran refugee community and with marginal communities in El Salvador for social justice. Recinos just completed a poetry manuscript due out in the new year with RP Press, Voices on the Corner.