The Parable of Things in Common
By Rodney Rountree
(from "God is Still Speaking: Parables for Today")
A Minister brought several things to the altar during service: an apple, an orange, a ball, a coin, and a hula hoop. Then she asked the congregation “How are these things all the same?” “They are all round” said one. “That’s true” said the Minister. “Now how are they all the same and yet also a symbol of God?” Well, that had them stumped for a few minutes, then one perceptive person said “I know, they are all circles and the circle, being without end, represents God.” “Very good” said the Minister as the crowd murmured to themselves. “I have given you a puzzle to teach you a small lesson, but God has given you a puzzle to teach you a great lesson” the Minister said. Then the Minister went out among the congregation and asked each person she touched to go stand before the altar. First an elderly lady went to the altar, then a young boy. A black man, a short woman, a tall man, a big boy, and a young woman in a wheelchair soon followed. The Minister went back to her podium and looked over the persons assembled before the altar for a long moment. Then she turned to the congregation and asked “How are these all the same and in the image of God?” There was much murmuring and talking among the people. “They are all children of God” said one uncertainly. “Of course that is true” said the Minister, “but that’s not quite it.” Finally, one offered “they all have a soul?” “Yes!” said the Minister. “To paraphrase a popular movie character” she said. “Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter!” And then she explained “It is our souls, not our bodies that are made in God’s image. Hence we are all equal in his eyes.”
Lesson: “Luminous beings are we” indeed. Our spirits, not our bodies, are made in the image of God. This simple concept has profound implications for how we treat one another based on gender, age, race, ability, etc. If we were to truly embrace this fact, there would be much less hate in the world today.