Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. — Hebrew scripture, Leviticus 19:18
Commonly known as the Golden Rule, the ethic of reciprocity appears in some form in every major religion—Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam—as well as in many other traditions. We can consider the ethic of reciprocity a universal value on which people of diverse faiths can agree. This session explores how it guides us to cooperate, for the good of all.
For Unitarian Universalists, this ethic comes to us both from our Jewish and Christian heritages and from the wisdom of world religions. In the context of this program, children explore the ethic of reciprocity as a guide toward actions that strengthen the beloved community—in our congregations, in our families, and in other communities to which we belong.
This ethic is related to the idea of "radical hospitality" in our congregations. Radical hospitality invites us to welcome not only those to whom we are naturally drawn because of their similarity to ourselves, but also those who seem different from us.
Radical hospitality and the ethic of reciprocity can help us promote justice. When we are truly open to the "other" and welcome them into our beloved communities, we help build a more just society in our congregations and in the world.
Be aware that in discussions about the Golden Rule and kind and affirming behavior, participants may bring up their experiences with quite different behavior—mean and bullying behavior. Be prepared to discuss these experiences, to report abusive incidents to your congregation's minister or religious educator and the child's parent(s), and talk about what resources are available to the family in this situation. Bullying is a serious issue.
This session will:
- Introduce the ethic of reciprocity as a universal religious value
- Explore how, in Unitarian Universalism, the ethic of reciprocity encourages radical hospitality
- Examine ways the ethic of reciprocity and radical hospitality give us ways to act on our first Principle, to affirm and promote "the inherent worth and dignity of every person"
- Demonstrate ways to practice radical hospitality.
- Reflect on and discuss a story that demonstrates both the ethic of reciprocity and a kind of radical hospitality
- Experience, in games and activities, how affirming one another deepens our connections and builds our sense of community
- Reflect on how radical hospitality enriches our communities and each of us as individuals
- Explore their individual responsibility and practical ways to offer radical hospitality to others.
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