Learning Time about the Golden Rule, July 10, 2022

Gospel Lesson: Luke 6:46-49

“Why do you call out, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi,’ but don’t put into practice what I teach you?  Those who come to me and hear my words and put them into practice—I’ll show you who they’re like:  they are like the person who, in building a house, dug deeply and laid the foundation on a rock. When a flood arose, the torrent rushed against the house, but failed to shake it because of its solid foundation.  On the other hand, anyone who has heard my words, but has not put them into practice, is like the person who built a house on sand, without any foundation. When the torrent rushed upon it, the house immediately collapsed and was completely destroyed.”

Learning Time: “Thoughts about the Golden Rule”

According to the King in the old Wizard of Id comic strip, that would be “Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.” We know how that usually works out.

We also know how much better things are when we work together, and find common ground, and remember to treat others as we would wish to be treated.

In Canada we have rich and diverse spiritual and religious traditions that inform how we live together. I looked up the most recent census data to identify the traditions most represented, and then I found their versions of the Golden Rule. They were read this morning during the Essex Fun Fest Service by Mayor Richard Meloche and some of the town councilors. Because I assigned the readings, I was in the interesting position of putting words into the mouths of some local politicians, and in a municipal election year, no less.

The Golden Rule in Christianity:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Golden Rule in Islam:

Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others
what you wish for yourself.

The Golden Rule in Hinduism: 

This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.

The Golden Rule in Buddhism: 

Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

The Golden Rule in Sikhism:

I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me.

Indeed, I am a friend to all.

The Golden Rule in Judaism:

What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.

The Golden Rule Indigenous in Spirituality:

We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.

Two things I have been thinking about, about the Golden Rule. The first is that many of the expressions of it that are found around the world, appeared before the time Jesus walked the earth. So this teaching has been part of human wisdom for a very long time. This suggests to me that the Spirit of God has been working in humans, well, always.

The other thing that catches my attention is that all these different faiths, around the world, teach kindness to others, and that in most places, we humans do not always remember to be kind to each other, to treat others with the compassion and respect we would like to receive from others.

As a religion, Christianity has not always remembered to be kind to other religions, and show the basic respect we would want. There have been, and still are, groups within Christianity who seem to forget how Jesus teaches us to be with others, and they choose to be mean, judgmental, and disrespectful of other people, other religions, even though Jesus never did that.

Jesus never asked anyone to change religions. He invited them into a closer relationship with God, who he taught us we could call Abba, which in his language was more like Daddy, than Father, with all the intimate, personal, kind tones that come through with that word.

Jesus was interested in each person, how they were doing. He taught his followers to build a life based on their close connection to God. If your sense of who you are is built on the foundation of your relationship to God, there is no need to try to put anyone else down, or prove you are better than anyone else. You don’t have to have the best clothes, house, car, kids, job, education, even religion. All you really need is that God connection, and to be loving and kind- you know, to treat others the way you like to be treated. Amen