time ago I bought a new distributor to install in my
antique 1942 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan. I chucked
the old one into the trash barrel, and the next night
hauled the trash bag out to the street. A dog must have
gotten into it during the night because, when the neighborhood
kids arrived the next morning to wait for the bus, the
trash bag was gone but the distributor cover was still
there, partly hidden in the grass alongside the drive.
kids found it and started examining what they considered
to be a strange object. I was working in the garage
and could overhear their discussion. Two boys and a
girl, of middle elementary age, pooled their wisdom
about the discovery. Looking at the cover, with its
eight little bumps arranged in a circle around the center
bump, one boy said, "I think it's a toy for sifting
sand at beach."
said the girl. "It's a Jello mold."
third child laughed. "Look at the holes. You attach
it to a hose and sprinkle your lawn with it. I've seen
being able to agree on its use, they started debating
how it got there. The first boy said, "I think it's
been buried in the grass here a long time, and it just
second boy suggested that, since it looked like a tiny
flying saucer, perhaps it fell from the sky. That inspired
the girl to say, "I think God put it there for us to
find. Maybe we're supposed to do something with it."
The first boy looked at her with a puzzled expression
and asked, "But what?"
as elementary-level students in the school of spiritual
wisdom, have awakened to discover the riddle of life:
ourselves, our bodies, our relationships, our world,
our aspirations, our fears, and the traditions which
attempt to explain all of these mysteries. There is
no end to the speculations about what it all means:
is just an accident of nature;
were created out of nothing in the womb;
demands perfection from us or he will send us to hell;
we die our consciousness blinks out like a candle
it all has some supreme importance;
all means nothing;
hates everyone who believes differently than I do.
problem is that these speculations have been dreamed
up by people who don't know any more than we do. Even
those who wrote the authoritative religious manuals,
which have guided people's thinking for millennia, were
partly guessing at the truth of God, based on their
own limited experience. Don't you suppose that, as these
three children grow, they may some day learn the true
nature of a distributor cover? And isn't it conceivable
that as the human race matures, we will come to see
God not through the speculations born of our childish
fears but in the true light of his unconditional love?
us focus, not on the little we already know, but on
the vast ocean of God's truth which still remains to
John W. Sloat 2003