Adapted from "Many Paths to God" in Hide and Seek with God by Mary Ann Moore (Skinner House Books, 1994). Used with permission.
Once upon a time, four travelers from different lands met near a mountain. The travelers had been told that if they climbed the mountain, they would find God at the top. Around the bottom of the mountain were many paths to choose from. The travelers had each been told beforehand which of the paths to take. They also had been told that only that path would bring them to God.
The travelers met each other at the bottom of the mountain and told each other of their search for God.
Puppet Number 1:
I am trying to find God. I have been told that of all these paths, the right path to take is that one, the flowery meadow path. I have been told that if I follow it, at the top I will find God, the Great Mother of All.
Puppet Number 2:
That's interesting. I have been told that the right path to take is that steep, cliff-side path over there, and if I follow it, at the top I will find God, the Great Father in Heaven.
Puppet Number 3:
Strange that we have all been told to follow different paths. I have been told that the right path is that wide river valley path, and if I follow it, at the top I will find God, the Great Spirit in All Things.
Puppet Number 4:
Yes, this is strange. I have been told to follow even a different path. My path is the deep forest path, and I'm told if I follow it, at the top I will find God, the Great Peaceful Silence.
The travelers were surprised to hear about the other paths, because they were sure the path they had been told to follow was the only right one. They even tried to convince the others to follow their chosen path.
I'm sure my way is the right one.
Change your minds and come my way.
Don't you think it would be best for you to come this way?
You really ought to take the forest path.
But none would change. Each was sure that their way was the right way. So, bidding each other good-bye, they began their journeys to the top. As they started out, each was singing a song of praise to God. They could hear each other's songs in the distance and they all thought the other songs sounded strange. But off they went on their chosen paths. They soon were traveling alone and could no longer hear any of the others. Sometimes following the path was easy and sometimes it was hard.
Finally, each traveler neared the top of the mountain. They began to hear the other travelers' songs once again, but now they realized how beautiful the others' songs were, even though they were very different than their own. All four came to the top within minutes of each other. They stopped and eagerly looked around.
Oh, Great Mother of All, I have found you!
Oh, Great Father in Heaven, I have found you!
Oh, Great Spirit in All Things, I have found you!
Oh, Great Peaceful Silence, I have found you!
But all of them were seeing and calling out to the same God. Then they realized that they had all been searching for the same thing, though each had called it by a different name and each had taken a different path. At this, they reached out for each other's hands, formed a circle right there on the top of the mountain, and began to sing again. And now, as each of them sang their songs, there seemed to be only one song, a joyous song of love for God.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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