What then?

I walked in the rain this morning while dark clouds weighted down the sky and a cold breeze bent the heads of yellow tulips. It's spring in the Willamette Valley and I can tell because over there are yellow tulips and here is a lawn sign telling me, "Jesus is risen."

Our minds make curious leaps sometimes and instead of thinking of Jesus the sign made me think of Sai Baba, the Indian guru who died a few days ago at the age of 84. I never met Sai Baba and know of him only through an occasional reference in a book or newspaper. He was famous for being able to materialize things from pure air—lockets, rings and food that he gave his followers—and vibuti, sacred ash, which often flowed in streams from the palms of his hands. Thousands of people witnessed these manifestations and over the years investigators sought some slight of hand or deception. None, so far as I know, was discovered.

Sai Baba wasn't a Christian but maybe his manifesting demonstrated the same underlying belief that Jesus taught, that faith can move mountains. "Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7–8).

Walking, I found myself considering how much fun it would be to have the ability to materialize whatever one wanted. I saw myself telling a group of people I could pull a $5 bill out of thin air and then doing it. And then I imagined the shock that would set in, the unbelief, and I saw myself sitting in a chair gasping for breath. I went on to picture everyone being able to materialize anything they wanted. What if we all could pull money out of the air? What then?

Well, we'd find that money didn't matter. Imagine how society and cultures would change. What then? If we can pull money from thin air we can surely heal ourselves and others, so everyone is healthy, with enough to eat. Want becomes a nonissue. What then? Where would we turn for satisfaction? Would we be happy? Would we open our hearts, accept that on a cosmic level we're all connected? And if we did that, what then? Without struggle would our lives cease to matter? What then?

So many weighty issues on a cloudy, rainy Tuesday. As I turned the corner toward home I tried pulling a $5 bill out of the air. I was prepared to be surprised but I guess I lack faith. I'll be working on that.