A famous apple tree in New Zealand bears one hundred and seventeen varieties of apple. They grow on grafted branches gathered from around the world. This one tree, fruiting with different apples at different times, can remind us of the diversity of spiritual gifts given by God, the one divine Spirit.
Paul the Apostle spoke of diversity in unity. In a letter to the people of Corinth he wrote: ''There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. . . .And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.'' n1
n 1 I Corinthians 12.4, 6
Paul had traveled extensively and was well aware of the wide variety of people, languages, and customs embraced in human society. He also understood that there is just one God, one universal creator, governing all.
Whatever differences human beings may have, everyone's true selfhood expresses the one God, is the very image of Him, and the one God is the Life and Soul of everyone. None of God's children is superior or inferior to another.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in a poem, 'Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower: Love hath one race, one realm, one power. n2
n 2 Poems, p. 22.
I recall my first deep realization of this fact, some years ago. As a new sailor, I had gone ashore to see the country when my ship docked in an Egyptian port. I was walking through a small village in the heat of the day. The only person visible was an elderly man sitting in the shade of a stone wall. To me, he seemed as ancient as the land and its culture, and as far apart from my technological world as anyone could be. In one sense, we had little in common. But as I passed by, we looked at each other, and we smiled, and we nodded to each other in recognition. In that moment, time and language barriers melted away. We were two people in unity, perhaps instinctively sensing our common spiritual origin as offspring of divine Love.
We read in the Bible of a Roman centurion who was impelled as a result of prayer to send for Peter, Christ Jesus' disciple, to be taught by him. Peter went to the man's house and explained the message of Christianity. Under normal circumstances, because of his religious background, Peter would not have made such a visit. But he had had a vision, a message from God, before the centurion's servants arrived, and he realized that no one is superior or inferior to another in God's sight. n3
n3 See Acts, chap. 10.
The same spiritual fact is true today. We are all God's children, loved equally by our creator. Man, as created by God, is not a physical, mortal being in conflict with other mortals, contending for limited resources - limited pieces of land, sea, or air. He is the satisfied and complete likeness of the one God.
The spiritual fact of being, realized, dissolves the fear of lack or of victimization. Christ Jesus showed this. He illustrated through his healing works that the abundance of God's love is available equally to all. When he healed multitudes and fed thousands through spiritual means alone, he demonstrated the truth that there are no lines of partiality to divine Love.
The spiritual facts of life show us that there is one God, one infinite Spirit or Mind. The one God - the one eternal, divine Principle - is the universal Soul of all being, the source of infinite individuality. As God's image, man is the spiritual reflection of Soul.
''There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,'' as Paul said. The same God is everyone's God. We are all the children of the same Father-Mother God, loved equally and equally able to express Love.
One apple tree, with many branches and different fruit, hints at the diversity inherent in divine Love and its infinite expression. DAILY BIBLE VERSE All ye are brethern: And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Matthew 23:8,9