Magazine article Anglican Journal

All of Life Is Responsible to the Rest of Life

Magazine article Anglican Journal

All of Life Is Responsible to the Rest of Life

Article excerpt

IN RECENT years, many people have commented on the significance of Indigenous teachings to the ecological crisis facing Creation. The teachings of the Elders of the People of the Land are now seen as containing ancient wisdom that may reorient society towards Creation in a healing way. Though these teachings present a range of relevant and urgent directions for humankind's relation to Creation, one aspect stands out.

There is, among many of the different Peoples of the Land, a teaching that I have heard some describe as the Great Law of Life. (A wide variety of ways exist that name this commonly held teaching.) It is stated simply in this way: all of life is responsible to the rest of life. This basic idea has an essential companion: this responsibility is served best by treating the various parts of Creation as family, as relations. Without this commitment and attitude, the moral life is disconnected from something fundamental about our relationship to the rest of life and its Creator. This understanding is an illuminating companion to the many other aspects of moral teaching that are a part of Indigenous way of life. The Great Law of Life can, and should, be an illuminating companion to Christian ethical teaching.

For people who follow the Jesus way, this teaching--with many echoes in the Scriptures and the teachings of the early church's elders--reveals truth that has been obscured by the churches' captivity to the culture and economics of the global market society. …

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