Ain't It a Pity?

from by Sam Steffen



I went down to the chapel last easter morning,
Hadn’t been for a while, it seemed like a good time
I was counting on hearing a beautiful sermon
By the preacher there who’s an old friend of mine

I’s a few minutes late, the service was crowded
An usher escorted me into my seat
Soon as I had sat down the sermon had started,
The next thing that I knew, I had fell fast asleep

And while I was sleepin while the preacher was preachin
A most peculiar vision visited me
I dreamt that the person sittin beside me
Was none other than jesus of old galilee

Well he put out his hand, and he said, “Nice to meet you,”
There wasn’t no halo hangin over his head
He looked old and tired and he smelled sorta pungent
As you’d imagine a man who just came back from the dead

He wanted to know if I’d show him around some
And keep him a secret, he didn’t want to be seen
I agreed to his terms and he asked what the date was
I said, “It’s easter Sunday, 2014”

It occurred to me then just what jesus was in for
Having never set foot within our day and age
He’d probably never seen a car or an airplane
Or watched a television or read the sportspage

Well out of the church we two then proceeded
While the preacher in the pulpit was left carryin on
I asked old jesus what he thought of the sermon
He said he thought it had gone on too long

We stepped outside into the city
Where the wind blew a newspaper right up to our feet
Jesus picked it up and he started to readin,
And the words that he said, he was bound to repeat, he said:

Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
There’s still wars bein fought, there’s still people in chains
Aint it a pitiful shame?
Well we walked for a while through the slums and the alleys
Jesus took it all in like he’d seen it before
Healing the sick, feeding the hungry
Helping the needy, the grievin, the poor

Somehow or other we made it to wall-street
Where we stood out like bums at a rich folks’ parade
Jesus pulled on the coat-tails of a shiny tuxedo
Asked the fella who wore it how his money was made

Well the fella turned red and told us to get lost
He said, “That’s my business and none of your own!”
He said, “If I had a dollar to give every beggar
I’d be out of a job and out of a home!” Jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
Sure the buildings are taller, but the people’s the same
Ain’t that a pitiful shame?

While jesus was talkin, the man lets out a whistle
And up comes this officer lookin servile and all
He says “What’s the trouble?” and the man points right at us
The officer makes us put our hands on the wall

And while he is friskin, jesus starts talkin
Says, “You won’t get to heaven by buyin your way!”
When the officer heard that he started to beat him
Dragged us both to his squad car to haul us away

Down at the courthouse they questioned and searched us
Took prints of our fingers and asked us our names
When I told them mine, they didn’t say nothing
When jesus said his, well they called him insane, jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
To the people in charge the truth still sounds insane
Aint that a pitiful shame?

Well we went fore the judge who asked what our crime was,
The officer said we’s tryin to steal from the rich
He said he’d be doin both us a favor
Brought down his gavel, said the sentence was death, jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
They kill you once, if you come back, they’ll kill you again
Aint that a pitiful shame?

Well when I awoke I was still in the chapel
The sermon was over, everyone had gone home
Except for one person way up in the front row
Who had his head bent and was prayin alone

Well I got up to leave so as not to disturb him
I tried to be quiet so I wouldn’t be heard
But when I got to the front, and started to pass him
I couldn’t help overhearing some familiar words

Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?
It’s been two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed!
When I think of the violence that’s been done in christ’s name
Aint it a pitiful shame?


from Ain't It a Pity?, released July 31, 2016



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Sam Steffen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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