Listen to the Quiet Voice

Jesus comes back through Nazareth and does the same miracles that he’s done all up and down the coast but the people are different and don’t get it. He can’t reach them, though he wants to. He likes Nazareth, he likes the people, he knows most of them, grew up with them, is friends with most of ’em, and maybe that’s the problem. “Huh,” they say, and look at him. “When you settling down, kiddo? When you gonna start working? Your mother’s swamped with all the squirts, and your father’s got more work than he can handle. You could have a pretty good life here. What’s out there? People are the same everywhere.”

Jesus tries to talk to them but he can’t find the right words. They hear the jingle of harness straps in his voice, the soft, determined shuffle of feet against the road, and he might as well be across the world or standing in the middle of the lake again. “Politics,” they say. “Phooey. You’re gonna wear yourself out, kid. Who you foolin’? What’s gonna change, you go out there and walk around and see everything? What have you seen out there that you haven’t seen here? What are you going to find?”

“Belief,” says Jesus, and they mourn for him even as he shakes the dust from his feet, wail his dirge as he leaves. Out there, they know, is death, no less than at Nazareth.

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