I don’t call you servants –
I call you friends.
Yes, I needed you.
Yes, I need you.
When I came down from the mountain,
exhausted from saying
all the inexhaustible things,
I needed you – I needed my friends.
When I returned from my solitude
by the sea, and in the barren places,
where I abided in interior community,
I ached for the company of friends.
When I completed my fasting,
I craved more than bread and wine.
I hungered for your laughter and embrace,
my dear ones – my friends.
When I was challenged by those
who didn’t understand my words –
or who understood them all too well –
your presence gave me confidence, friends.
When they took me and lashed me,
and blood and tears fell from my flesh,
even though you weren’t there,
I drew strength from the love of my friends.
And now as I hang here stretched and dying,
as my breath grows ever more ragged,
I weep with those few beloveds who stayed,
and I grieve that I must leave you, my friends