But who do you say that I am?

This poem was first published at the Episcopal Cafe


When Christ confronted the demons, they cried out
in loud voices and with forked tongues,
“We know who you are, Holy One, Son of God,
hope of the nations and light of the world!”
And he bid them be silent. [i]

Some said he was a prophet.[ii]
Some said he had a demon.[iii]
Some said he should not go around saying
that the Son of Man must suffer,
but he had already had that conversation
with the devil in the wilderness;
he recognized the forked tongue twisting in Peter’s mouth.[iv]

“Who do you say that I am?” he asks us,[v]
and it is not enough to recognize,
to idolize,
to pay homage with forked tongue and fractured loyalties.

It is not enough
to say who he is, unless
we will become whom he has called us to become.

The rich will hunger to turn over tables,[vi]
the joyful will drown out the songs of the stones,[vii]
the hawks will hang up their talons
and eat olives offered by the dove,[viii]
the princes and powers will burn their thrones to
warm the hearts of the people.[ix]

“A broken and contrite heart you will not despise.”[x]The body bending under the weight of grief,
slung crosswise along the shoulders,
will find a lighter yoke in love.[xi]

“Who do you say that I am?” he asked them.
You are my way, my truth, my life.[xii]
If I am slow to follow, wait for me, reach back to me.
If I am hard of understanding, be patient with me.
Bind my heart to yours, that I may hear the rhythm of your passion.
Let the rest be silence.




[i] See Mark 1:23-26; [ii] Mark 8:27-28; [iii] Mark 3:22; [iv] Mark 8:31-33; Matthew 4:5-7; [v] Mark 8:29; [vi] See Luke 1:53; John 2:13-18; [vii] See Luke 19:37-40; [viii] See Isaiah 11:7; Genesis 8:8-11; [ix] See Luke 1:52; [x] Psalm 51:17; [xi] See Matthew 11:29-30; [xii] John 14:6

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
This entry was posted in lectionary reflection, poetry, prayer, sermon preparation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to But who do you say that I am?

  1. Excellent! You are a wonderful writer.

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