A Voice in the Crowd at Capernaum

John 6

I have come up with a hundred reasons why
you are unbelievable – you are, after all, just a son
of some carpenter, the illegitimate offspring
of a teenage mother. I know where you’ve come from.

Still I’m intrigued – I want to know more
about the man who fed five thousand,
his mysterious disappearance across the lake
without a boat – when did you get here?

You know what I really need to know –
why you matter more than the ceramic Buddha
made in China, more than the 6 a.m. yoga,
more than some cross necklace from my grandmother,

more, even, than the law you claim to have written.
How do priests prophesy about you,
dead fathers walk with you – why do you divide
bread and fish, why turn water into wine?

I need to know how the impossible becomes
miraculous, what turns vengeance into grace,
how to differentiate between bread and sustenance.
who are you to decide when I must swim and when to walk?

But what I’ll ask, instead, is – When did you get here?
What do you mean? How do you know these things?
Who can accept this? Lord, to whom can we go?
Give me this bread in flesh and blood always.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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