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.
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As usual, Dr Recinos brings me to the intersection of Wow & Oh My… That was good, sir.
Amen and amazing.
What a powerful poem! Thank you. I look forward to the forthcoming volume.
I hope you are doing well,
Dr. Recinos, this was moving. How sad it is for those who leave the church still feeling alone. How shameful when the church misses an opportunity to stand alongside their brothers or sisters, during times of need.
Great poem, Harold. Very powerful indeed! I loved every line, every thought you put on it. THANKS!!!!! Francisco
The pews are still empty though, no matter the volume of prayers prayed, or how delightful the choir sing, or how resonant the minister’s vibes. The pews are still empty. Thanks Dr. Recinos for such a powerful reminder of whose we are!
Wow! What a moving, poetic expression of the gospel. Thank you, Dr. Recinos for this word of grace. Dr. Myron S Augsburger