The Prime Directive
I didn’t see the new Star Trek movie when it made its run in theaters. That is shocking given my fascination with all things Trek. I stood in line for 3 hours to make sure I was one of the first to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture when it came out in 1979. And I can say without (much) embarrassment that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of my favorite movies of all time. But, sigh, Lynn loathes anything science fiction, and I never got around to arranging to go with anyone else to see the Star Trek. I hope someone will take me to see Avatar before it ends its run in theaters. (Randy?)
In the Star Trek universe, the most sacred of all laws was called “The Prime Directive.” This law forbade any and all Federation interference with primitive, non-space travelling civilizations. Kirk and Picard were to boldly go where no one had gone before, but they could not interfere with the development of the beings with whom they made contact. And the plotline of many of the Star Trek episodes was Kirk or Picard bending the rules to find loopholes so they could save the Enterprise or one of its crew members without violating the Prime Directive.
Does God have a “Prime Directive” for disciples of Jesus that informs us how we are to deal with all other disciples and non-disciples? Maybe our reading from today from Matthew 7 gives us something of that prime directive. Of course, we don’t call it that; we call it “the Golden Rule.”
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).
Jesus says that this one statement is “the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (NLT). Jesus tells us that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees, and the Golden Rule is where that begins to happen. In his commentary on Matthew, France says—
The rule which follows presents in a nutshell the ‘greater righteousness’, the distinctive behavior and attitude expected of the disciple.
If we are going to live out the righteousness of God in our lives, then we will take serious this “simple rule-of-thumb guide” that demands that we ask of ourselves “what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them” (The Message). I wonder-- do we spend more time, like Kirk and Picard, trying to find someway around the force of our prime directive rather than looking for ways to live it out.