“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
All of us are familiar with what is known as “The Golden Rule.” Jesus spoke these words as part of his Sermon on the Mount recorded in chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, “do to others as you would have them do to you.” What we refer to as “The Golden Rule” is found in virtually every major religion of the world. In Judaism it is phrased, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.” In Islam it is, “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”
When Jesus spoke these words in the Sermon on the Mount he said that they summarized all the law, similarly to how he summarized all the law when he affirmed that the greatest commandment is to love God with all that you are and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31) Jesus didn’t say, “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” as is so often how this is repeated. Cynthia Bourgeault writes, “It’s just ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ – as a continuation of your very own being. It’s a complete seeing that your neighbor is you. There are not two individuals out there, one seeking to better herself at the price of the other, or to extend charity to the other; there are simply two cells of the one great Life.” I am coming more and more to understand that “one great Life” as all inclusive, not just of humanity, but of all the natural world, for we believe that God created all that is and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Recently I have seen a version of the Golden Rule in Native Spirituality, attributed to Chief Dan George that includes the whole one great Life: “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.” As followers of Jesus the Christ we are called to love and care for all, and each of us has a crucial part to play as one part of the one great Life.
In invite you to ponder this Native version of the Golden Rule, “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive,” pay attention to the advent of spring in the earth around us, and look for and report to me your first sightings of Trillium blossoms! (They often appear around the last week of February in our area.