Identity and kaleidoscope

At first sight identity and kaleidoscope seem unrelated concepts. The word "identity" is based on a Latin word which means "the same"; "kaleidoscope" describes a means of viewing ever-changing colors and outlines. Nevertheless, the kaleidoscope I had as a child has helped me to clarify my concept of identity—man's spiritual identity as a child of God.

The toy was a short tube divided into three segments, one of which contained pieces of colored glass. Looked at through the tube, these chips appeared in a symmetrical pattern reflected by mirrors. Every time the toy was shaken, the pattern changed; the number of possible variations appeared inexhaustible.

During a discussion with my Sunday School class a pupil asked, "How is it possible for everyone to have an individual nature if man is the complete expression of God?" Another pupil suggested that all individualities taken together could make up a complete reflection if each one reflected a small aspect of God; but the class discarded that notion. I remembered my childhood toy and described it, emphasizing that all the patterns, although each one was unique, were made up of the same pieces of glass. The pupils then concluded that all men and women, in their true spiritual nature, express all the attributes of God but that the representation of these qualities differs in each individual, and the possible number of distinct individualities is unlimited.

To heal, start with God
November 20, 1978

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