Many hours were spent in the garden just being curious. Worms, snails and particularly slugs were deemed fascinating in my young mind. I often enjoyed taking the large packet of salt and experimenting in order to answer my thesis that slugs do indeed shrivel when dowsed in salt. I also discovered that they are easily led to go in very specific directions if you create a path for them on a concrete driveway using two lines of salt, a slug version of I-10.
As with most inquisitive boys, a magnifying glass was more of a weapon than an aid for sight. Sadly, very few days lent themselves to the destructive nature of my curiosity, as the sun would often elude me. Bees and wasps in the summer months would become the object of experimental horror. Did you know that the average honeybee is not able to fly when its wings are painted with gold spray paint? It was also deduced that a crane fly (similar to a daddy longlegs) spins in circles when its halteres (the pair of knobby things behind the wings) are removed. Every time a trail of ants was discovered, I had to follow either to the source of the multi-thousand throng or to the destination. A particularly fun pastime was gathering assorted ants into a jam-jar and observing their reactions. Over time, this developed into a homemade ant farm safely kept in a dark warm part of the house, the food pantry. Soil and food sources were carefully crammed into the jam-jar with small holes poked into the metal lid using my father’s tools. Once the ants were transplanted to their new tranquil home, they were left to create their small tunnels. My mother discovered my experimental work when picking up the bag of sugar. Apparently, ants have an uncanny ability to escape through small holes in the top of jam-jars and have a tantalizing love of sweet delights. It would have been a great way to study the feeding habits of Lasius niger (black garden ant) but mother was just a little upset to find hundreds of the little black creatures rampaging through the pantry. Maybe in the future I will have an opportunity to share with you about another experiment using garden worms and marshmallow cream… all I wanted was to discover and learn more about all creatures great and small.
Do we approach the scriptures with this kind of curiosity? I have discovered that God’s word is full of situations that we only understand at surface level. Take for example the time when Jesus met with his disciples to celebrate the Passover Feast. This was not unusual for them as Jewish people. Jesus had likely had this same supper with his disciples a couple of times over the years of his ministry, so even this feast was a “normal” occurrence. However, the account we have in the gospel has made this feast much more special than any other feast or occasion of its celebration. The reason for this is in the manner by which Christ shared with those who had been called to follow him. The ordinary Passover meal suddenly holds such a deeper meaning when one looks under the surface and links the original promise of salvation for the Hebrew people and the role Christ. He was about to become the Passover Lamb. Instead of the blood of a small offspring of a sheep or a goat covering the people from the threat of destruction under the wrath of God, Jesus’ blood would be used.
I encourage you to always read New Testament scripture with at least your fingers dipped into the Old Testament. My great uncle, the Rev. Dr. Alfred Greenway, a pastor who served the church in New Zealand speaks of the “Old Testament containing and sharing the imagery of the doctrine found in the New Testament.” When we look below the surface of the Word we discover that the promises made so many years before Christ were fulfilled in him and they speak today to offer us hope!