Sunday school. I was taught all of the common bible lessons as a young child, using felt boards and puppets. Yet even at a young age I never felt completely at ease with some of the things I was told. One particular Sunday morning we learned about the disciples and how they spread God's love, becoming fishers of men. My Sunday school teacher shared with us our responsibilities to share the love of God with others, especially those who have never heard about Him, otherwise they may not go to Heaven. I remember feeling very worried for those who didn't know. Would they not go to Heaven? What if it wasn't their fault that they had never met someone who could teach them? I kept thinking about people that roamed the deserts, or lived high in the mountains that didn't have much contact with the rest of the world. I remember thinking about people that lived on other continents a long long time ago. Could such a loving God have really created opportunities for people to live in places where they would never be able to hear about the word of God?
My little heart felt confused and sad. It didn't make sense.
That memory has always stayed with me for some reason. I would think about it from time to time, even with my more mature and logical brain.
Now in the present, I've had the most incredible opportunity to sit in the company of elders of the tribe I work for. They live traditional lifestyles and practice traditional, spiritual beliefs and "religion". Their ancestors have lived here for thousands of years, long before contact with Europeans. When spirituality is brought up, which it often is, they speak of the Creator. With all of their stories and oral histories, and no matter how different they may be from what I was taught growing up, there is one common belief. The Creator.
Some may think --- well their Creator is obviously not the same as our God.
But isn't it? What I've heard from them I won't repeat out of respect, but there have been many moments where my heart has been full and all questions in my mind cease. I've felt comforted by their stories that have been passed on for hundreds and hundreds of years, solidifying my beliefs that God is loving, God is everywhere. Sometimes we have such a narrow mindset, only thinking it can be one way. If you didn't hear about it on Sunday morning, then it must not be true. God created us all and would not abandon those who didn't know Him in the same way that so many of us have been taught is the "right" or only way.
We don't know everything and we never will. We must also realize although we are only a small mark in the world, we are all connected in such an incredible way. God is bigger and greater than we could ever imagine.