LOVE AND SERVE, a poem for the church from Venezuela

Rev. Obed Juan Vizcaino Najera is a gifted poet, teacher, pastor from Maracaibo, Venezuela. Many times we shared his words in the book Gifts in Open Hands: More Worship Resources for the Global Community. While many around the world are praying for those who are distressed in Venezuela, I found this poem, written in July, which challenges the church in all the world to be true to God and to itself. Thanks to Katie Fiegenbaum for the translation.

LOVE AND SERVE

If it doesn’t love or serve
the poor and the sinners,
the adulterous and the drunks,
the defenseless, those who suffer,
those without roofs,
the sick, the prostitutes,
the thieves, the hungry,
the spectrum of sexualities,
then it is not my church.
It would not be the Community
I imagined,
that I dreamed of,
but just a religious club
empty except for false spirituality.

If it doesn’t serve those who are weaker,
the marginalized,
those discriminated against,
the rejected, displaced, and the refugees,
then it is not my flock of sheep.
If their doctrine offers
fundamentalism,
intolerance, and exclusion,
rather than love,
tolerance and respect,
it is not my people, not my village

My Church loves, serves,
shows solidarity,
walks with people,
laughs with those who laugh
and is never indifferent to pain.

It is a congregation
of equals among equals.
There is no discrimination in it,
nor hateful insistence.
It doesn’t create divisions
between workers and bosses,
rich and poor,
white, black or mestizo,
left and right, above and below,
men and women.
A true community,
assembly of those
brought together to serve,
to be in solidarity,
to be neighborly
to all brothers and sisters.

Called to preach the Gospel,
to look for and to save
those who are considered lost,
Separate to be here and now,
this true people of God,
a real priesthood,
a different community,
sacred, supportive,
inclusive and integrative
is a constructer of hope.

If they love and serve the poor,
the sinners and the exiled,
one and the other,
those who are weaker
and helpless.
It is true community of Faith
that serves with happiness and humility,
as authentic people.
This church is called
to be the light of the world,
builders of the Kingdom of God.

My church loves and serves!!

AMA Y SIRVE

Si no ama ni sirve
a los pobres,
ni a los pecadores,
ni a los adúlteros,
ni a los borrachos,
ni a los desamparados,
ni a los que sufren,
ni a los sin techos,
ni a los enfermos,
ni a las prostitutas,
ni a los ladrones,
ni a los hambrientos,
ni a la diversidad sexual,
entonces no es mi Iglesia,
No es la Comunidad
que yo imaginé,
que yo soñé,
tan sólo es un club religioso
vacío y de falsa espiritualidad.

Si no sirve a los más débiles,
a los marginados,
discriminados,
rechazados,
desplazados y refugiados,
entonces no es mi rebaño.
Si en su doctrina prevalece
el fundamentalismo,
el fanatismo,
y la exclusión,
por sobre el amor,
la tolerancia y el respeto,
no es mi pueblo.

Mi Iglesia ama,
sirve,
se solidariza,
acompaña,
ríe con quienes ríen
y el dolor de la gente
no le es nunca ajeno.

Es una congregación
de iguales entre iguales,
no hay discriminación en ella,
ni imposiciones odiosas,
no establece separiones
entre obrerosy patrones,
ricos y pobres,
blancos, negros o mestizos,
izquierda y derecha,
arriba y abajo,
hombres y mujeres.
comunidad verdadera,
asamblea de aquellos y aquellas
convocados para servir,
ser solidarios,
sintiéndose prójimos,
hermanos y hermanas.

Llamados a evangelizar,
a buscar y salvar,
a quienes otros y otras
consideran perdidos.

Apartados para ser aquí y ahora,
verdadero pueblo de Dios,
sacerdocio real,
comunidad diferente,
santa, solidaria,
inclusiva e integradora
constructora de esperanza.

Si aman y sirven a los pobres,
a pecadores y excluidos,
los unos a otros,
a los más débiles
y desamparados.
Es verdadera comunidad de fe
que sirve con alegría y humildad,
como auténtico pueblo.
La iglesia que yo establecí,
está llamada a ser luz del mundo,
a convertirse en sal de la tierra,
constructores y constructoras
del Reino de Dios.

¡Mi iglesia ama y sirve!

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4 Responses to LOVE AND SERVE, a poem for the church from Venezuela

  1. Stephen Price says:

    I love this. Thank you

  2. Nathaniel C. Emens says:

    This message has really, really, moved me. Nathaniel Emens

  3. Maren says:

    Thanks — I will let Obed know. He will be delighted.

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