Continuing my story of Peace Pilgrim. In my last post, I shared her belief that there are basically two selves, the lower self, which I have learned to call ego, and the higher self, which she identifies, in her Quakerly way, “that of God within each of us”. One of my favorite parables of Jesus is the one about the seed that falls on different types of ground.
Here is my rewrite of that passage from Matthew 13 and I threw in a little of another parable from Luke 10. I use the masculine “he” for God out of habit and because it makes for easier reading.
After God created the heavens and the earth, God looked and saw that everything was beautiful but he wondered how to maintain it. He came up with an ingenious idea. Within each plant he wrapped a seed. This seed, with the help of the soil, the sun and rain, would break open and grow a new plant like the plant from which it came. This way, when a plant died, there would be another to replace it. He even came up with ways of helping the seeds to move to other parts of the earth. He put feathery wings on some seeds and let the wind carry these. The heavier seeds he made tasty and the birds and animals consumed these and then dropped them someplace else. This made the earth even more interesting because its colors and textures began to mix. God was surprised when some of the seeds blended with other seeds and new and different plantings came to be. His creation was taking on a life of its own. God used his idea of seeding to get animals and humans to reproduce so that there would be even more critters to take care of the foliage. There came a point where God’s plan was working so well, he realized it was okay for him to sit back and relax and watch the show.
As he watched, he noticed that there were a few problems with his plan. When seeds were dropped on good ground they broke open, grew roots, and eventually became new plants as they were supposed to do. But, sometimes the seeds were dropped in places where they couldn’t get what they needed to break open properly. For example, a bird might drop a seed on a path where the ground was so hard it couldn’t take root. They just lay there doing nothing. Some of the seeds fell among stones where there was a little soil. These were able to take root and many sprouted, but because the soil wasn’t very deep, when the sun came, the plants died because their roots weren’t deep enough to find water. Then there were the seeds that fell among thorny bushes. These seeds were able to sprout and grow, but the thorny bushes, which were simply doing their own thing without noticing what was going on around them, choked the small plants.
So it seemed that even with his great plans many seeds were still not making it. God thought on this a long time. Then one day, he decided to create an animal could help the seeds and the struggling little plants. This animal would “step up to the plate” as the animal would later say, and do what needed to be done. God could finally rest. God called the new animal “human” and he gave it intelligence to solve problems like how to rescue seeds and creativity so that God didn’t have to come up with all of the good ideas.
God’s plan should have worked, but as it turned out, there was so much work to be done and the human wasn’t able to choose which things needed attention. God found himself always telling the humans where to go and what to do so that they wouldn’t waste their time solving problems that didn’t need solving. This kept God very busy and he really needed a rest.
One day, God was schmoozing with a snake. He started talking to the snake about his dilemma. The snake spoke to him and said, “Give the human being an ability to make decisions and then you can have your rest.”
“That is risky,” God said.”The human might not make the same decision I would want her to make.”
“Some will, some won’t,” said the snake. “That is a risk, no doubt about that. But as things are right now, you are just as busy now as when you were first creating the universe. You are going to burn yourself out.”
So God took the snake’s advice. He gave human beings the ability to make decisions. And just as the snake said, some made decisions that fit right in with what God intended them to do caring for the world. Unfortunately, there were some humans that preferred to do things their own way and these began to do damage to the earth and even one another. It was awful the harm they could do. His only consolation was the humans who chose to follow his plan.
One day he noticed a man get beaten and left on the side of the road. Several other humans passed by without even giving the wounded man a thought. God’s heart was about to break as he watched the poor man writhe in pain. God began to cry. Another man came by on the road and one of God’s tears dropped on his head. “What was that?” said the man. He stopped and put his hand on the top of his head. Wondering where the moisture came from, he looked around. That is when he saw the man laying on the side of the road. The man felt tightness in his chest where his heart was. This did not slip by God unnoticed. It was exactly what he was feeling. So he gave the man a little nudge which sent him into the direction of the poor beaten man. He helped the man up, managed to lift him onto his horse and he brought him to the nearest motel. There he washed the man’s wounds and left him to rest. He paid money to the motel owner and told him to feed the man until he was well enough to leave. The man that had been left on the side of the road eventually healed and he went on to create a neighborhood watch system to help protect people walking along the road from harm. The motel owner who witnessed the kindness decided to reserve one room for anyone who comes to his motel without enough money to pay.
God had accidentally found an answer to his problem. He realized that he could get humans to do his will by pouring compassion on them. It is like leading a bird to pick up a particular seed that needs to be moved to fertile soil. From that day forward, he began to rain compassion on the earth and humans who were open to it went about doing God’s will. They watched over the plants and animals and each other. God was able to take a nap now and then. When he was awake, he loved watching the show.
There were still some who were not able to receive the compassion he sent. They were just like the seeds unable to sprout. Sometimes those who were filled with compassion would notice. They would either make the soil better or they would pick them up and transplant them. This always gave God a thrill.
Things still are not perfect on the earth. God has learned to accept that. (If he didn’t, his heart would surely break.) He just keeps raining his compassion down and rejoicing over those who catch it.
You may not understand how my story fits in with Peace Pilgrim’s message. I will tell you, but now I am just exhausted from creating and I need a rest.
(Just had a thought…Maybe it is good idea to copy write this…If you share the story, don’t try to pass it on as your own and don’t ever accept money for it. Judy Jeub, January 13, 2015)