“Simon the Cyrenian Speaks” by Countee Cullen

Wifey sent me this poem as an encouragement for today. I enjoy Countee Cullen, though it’s been a long time since I’ve read his poetry. In fact, this “woke” generation would find inspiration and insight from the writers and thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance, New Negro, and Negritude movements of the era. I think we’d find many are not all that “woke” and being “woke” ain’t all that new. But that’s another blog post. Today, I just wanted to share this gospel- and culture-inspired work from Cullen, “Simon the Cyrenian Speaks.” It’s a good poetic example of thinking about the scripture in deeply personal, existential, cultural, ethnic, theological and faithful ways.

He never spoke a word to me,
And yet He called my name;
He never gave a sign to me,
And yet I knew and came.
At first I said, “I will not bear
His cross upon my back;
He only seeks to place it there
Because my skin is black.”

But He was dying for a dream,
And He was very meek,
And in His eyes there shone a gleam
Men journey far to seek.

It was Himself my pity bought;
I did for Christ alone
What all of Rome could not have wrought
With bruise of lash or stone.

Thabiti Anyabwile
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). He is the happy husband of Kristie and the adoring father of two daughters and one son. Holler at him on Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

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