written by Julia Robinson Shimizu
“My Lord,” I say to you, but you are not mine.
I am not possessed of demons, not possessed of man, and I possess you not.
I am free to say your name.
Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.
I counted myself among those who followed you. It was said that I was but a woman and yet you welcomed me. I followed you and you spoke to me. Your words fed me, you strengthened me to stand, a woman among men, as witness.
I followed and I listened and I followed you and I watched, aching as you suffered. I knelt as your last breath fell from you and I followed your broken body to the tomb. I swallowed my tears as I, gently and with the other women, anointed you. And yet when the other women left to mourn you in their hearts and homes, I could not leave you there.
I was drawn back to you. I could not bear to close my eyes to sleep and I held my breath as I tore through the darkness. I longed to kneel again, near to you, at your tomb, within the impossible reach of you and I found you not.
The stone had been rolled away and your tomb was empty. Empty.
Who, who would have taken that precious flesh, that stilled blood, that quiet heart that had been the remains of you?
“Who, who,” was the sound of my sobbing …
like a mourning dove. “Who, who?”
And then you answered.
You, my lord. You appeared to me.
At first, it was not in my eyes to see you. I thought I saw a man and I did not recognize you. How could that be you, when you had been given over to death and to the tomb just now, just now?
But you called to me and comforted me and you commanded me. But, no, your words were too soft too kind too good a thing. I could not call that a command. You asked could I do one thing for you. One thing more.
You asked me to tell them, the other followers. The men. You asked me to tell them now and to be the first to speak your name as lord god, risen lord, son of god, Jesus Christ.
And forever after, I tell them, you are arisen and alive. And there I see you, on the right hand of the father and you, you, you will come again. And it is you, YOU, now and forever,
Julia Robinson Shimizu is a non-profit communications professional in Los Angeles and a cradle Episcopalian. She attends St Johns Cathedral in Los Angeles. Each year during Lent, the writers group at St Johns prepares readings for the Wednesday evening service. This poem was her offering last year.