Writing a blog is a little bit like opening the door to my study and let you peek into my life while it is happening. This time I am opening the door to my kitchen and let you peek into it while we set the table, cook a variety of foods and prepare for a special guest: Ron Radford.
This extraordinary musician and most of all most extraordinary individual is on tour in Europe. He came to Berlin with his Flamenco guitar for a charity concert on behalf of the Roger McGowen Fund, supporting an innocent man in a US prison who is serving a life sentence without reason and who has been rising to such a level of forgiveness and unselfishness that it even blesses those outside the prison walls. This life story is worthy of our full attention and it does have our family attention since we joined Pierre Pradervand and others in their prayerful stance for justice, human rights, and a divine forgiveness that comes only through blessing others. Pierre Pradervand's book Messages of Life from Death Row is an extraordinary, moving read. You can find it in any bookstore close by. Pierre Pradervand, Ron Radford, and many others are active and up and about every day, paying for legal fees, doing fundraising, speaking to Roger every day, taking a practical stand for Truth in the most modest and moving way.
While sitting at lunch, we exchanged ideas - divine ideas, free ideas, grand ideas.
Like the Platinum Rule. Ron Radford explained that he thought that there is an upgrade to the Golden Rule, namely the Platinum Rule. The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. In many religions and cultures this rule is present, of course. And it is a wonderful, powerful rule, because it shows that everything in life is linked to each other. Our fates are linked to each other in such a way, that we cannot expect f.e. a happy life if we don't actively work for the happiness of others as well; we cannot expect fair treatment if we don't give others fair treatment; we cannot expect to meet with honesty when we withhold a portion of truth from ourselves or others.
Now here comes the upgrade: While the Golden Rule teaches to treat others as one would wish to be treated, the Platinum Rule teaches to treat others as they would wish to be treated. There is no element of selfishness left, not even the tiniest rest. Just the pure desire that others might be treated in the best possible way without expecting anything in return. Expectancy to receive anything in return even undermines the power of the Platinum Rule.
When we spoke about the Platinum Rule, I brought Christ Jesus into the room. I had noticed during my Bible study, that he himself introduces an upgrade, too. This is what I mean: Jesus has just washed his disciples feet, Judas just left the dinner table to betray "the best man that ever trode the globe " (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 52) and Jesus starts a final thorough teaching which includes this statement:
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13: 34,35)
The old commandment would have been the Golden Rule, but the new commandment is a love that is unselfish and kind, that washes feet and forgives, the Christ love, that is more like an endless stream than a social contract. More like a gift than the momentary quiet that comes from knowing that one is doing the right thing. The Platinum Rule.
As you contemplate this new insight, I invite you to spend your next break with Ron Radford as he shares with you not only wisdom and spirituality, but also his fabulous guitar playing. Find him on his website, too:
In my practice I encounter the need for change, for progress, for renewal - mostly of myself, but also of others. It may sound like "I need more colors in my life, every day the same, all monochromatic" (that is one single base hue only). This morning cycling through a huge gorgeous park to a reading room of a library, I drove through lawn sprinklers of gigantic proportions, producing the most glorious rainbows under gigantic beech trees. And seeing a rainbow is always very special, don't you agree?
This year I will spend part of my summer time at Arc-en-Ciel in Switzerland, a Christian Science summer camp in its 50th year now. This camp offers a mix of togetherness, fun, development (from Bible exploration to sustainability, art, and more), most of all spiritual refreshment and empowerment. I was asked to be the Christian Science Practitioner on site. The organizing team is fantastic and we are ready to roll.
The theme of this year's camp is from Paul: "...walk as children of light!" (Ephesians 5:8). It is a wonderful motto and you might already have an idea what that could mean in your own life. Certainly Paul knew what he was writing about but evidently also perceiving the need to give more specific ideas to live by in order to heal the question mark on his readers' foreheads. So he sent the light of his spiritual teaching through a prism, dispersing the beam of light. A prism separates the long wavelengths from the shorter wavelengths and makes light visible, in a way - that's how we see colors. Paul gatheres nine qualities of light, from the other side of the prism, and these nine qualities, you might say, are the essence of a spiritual life, a life as "a child of light". They show the concrete uplift, relevance, and richness of spirituality in action. To walk as a child of light means that to be alive, productive, and truly content. It means making a difference in material concept of world - much as light does in darkness. Here are the nine qualities Paul mentions, in the translation of J.B. Phillips (Galatians 5: 22,23), writing from experience:
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control."
In the Message these same qualities are related this way:
"But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."
Arc-en-Ciel means "rainbow" in French, and along with the campers we all are made for a colorful life, a rich life, an abundant life, in every land, in every culture. Spiritual living is light, no darkness at all - the total absence of light - which enables us to stop the repetition of the same story over and over again. There is a startling openness and surprising immediacy of the Spiritual. As the properties of visible light are intensity, direction, frequency or spectrum, so is it with our experience. The qualities Paul invites us to live present an infinite array of possibilities, opportunities of healing practice: kindness, generosity, and self-control can be explored, intensified, be given a direction, can be more frequent and display a larger spectrum.
There is no obligation to stare into the dark of materialism, every day. It is not our duty to live pressured lives in a hamster wheel or to bear the boredom of days without purpose. We can stop agreeing with the shadow of an existence and lift our thought towards spiritual living - which Jesus showed to be the only existence there is. We can turn thought to the elegant, beautiful order of the universe under the control of divine Principle. We can acknowledge that divine Love is present, embracing us with tender care and comfort and filling our days with --- light! And we respond by opening our eyes and acknowledging the warmth all around. All the good you are experiencing today is divine. All those lovely qualities of light are divine to start with and belong to Soul, God. They are not human accomplishments - they show forth in beauteous ways what light is: The essence of Life.
I picked one quality in particular to give my own "walk as a child of light" direction and to explore the spectrum of this quality in a more specific way. I intend to see the results very soon. I am looking up the word, write up a small concept and I am defining aspects of my thinking and living which will benefit from this discipline - to let my light shine more brightly and more consistently than before. Do you have one, too?
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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