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The Feeding of the Five Thousand

I’ve taken the liberty of using this play about the feeding of the five thousand to propose an alternate explanation of the miracle that’s popular in some circles. Did Jesus miraculously multiply the loaves and fishes, or did people who were secretly holding food for themselves share it when the baskets came around, inspired or shamed by the example of the boy? Those who preach the second interpretation don’t, at least in my experience, do it in order to argue against miracles in general, for they happily celebrate them when they occur in other gospel stories. Rather, I think they like considering the alternate explanation in this case because it raises the question of whether the act of sharing itself might have been a miracle, and whether that would then have been a “better” miracle than the simple “rabbits from a hat” miracle of multiplying the food would have been. As usual, I offer no conclusion in this play.

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