A book discussing the United States Supreme Court has recently made quite an impact on American public opinion. People may well be divided in their assessment of the book. Certainly the court itself is unlikely to hold a unanimous view of its merits and demerits.
But there is one thing none of us should be divided over. That is the need to lend our support to the court. Does this mean that any challenges or difficulties should be ignored? It certainly doesn't. But it does mean that we can have a hand in effectively resolving such challenges. All people have a stake in maintaining respect for the quality of justice in human affairs.
The conditions that have aroused discussion deal mainly with the surface of human experience. If we think just in terms of mortal personalities, we won't be able to do much to truly support the judiciary. That's not where the real issues lie. In fact, a big to- do about personalities can often be a red herring that leads us right away from establishing our support where it is most needed.
What's actually called for is prayer for the institution itself, and for the positions designed to carry out its functions. When consistent prayer is aimed in this direction, we'll find that the judiciary is better fulfilling its role, and that trust, intelligence, and insight are governing the actions of those on the court.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, encouraged her followers to give prayerful attention to the various branches of government -- including the national court system.She writes, "Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness." *
* Christian Science versus Pantheism,m p. 14
How do we pray for the judiciary -- especially if we're not trying to mold individuals into what we perceive as ideal court justices? We can begin by understanding that we're dealing with something of timeless spiritual and moral value, although typified by a human institution. The entire court system stands as a symbol of law of justice, of righteousness. Ultimately these attributes derive from God.
When we find legitimate human institutions, actions, and events running into difficulties, or failing to live up to our ideals, it's often a warning that we need to shore up our understanding of their spiritual source. Without the protection of prayer embracing them, they too easily fall victim to disorder, selfishness, misunderstandings.
While it maybe comforting for many to think of God as a separate entity -- an enlarged human being who reaches in and puts things in order when we pray to Him -- we can be much more effective in our prayers by holding more accurate views of Diety. We can begin to understand that God is divine Principle itself. To realize that God is Principle is to understand that the universe is ordered by Him.
In fact, the truth that God is Principle reveals more clearly the source of law, of justice, of righteousness. Those elements are evidence of the intelligent government of God. Isaiah perceived something of this when he said, "The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord id our king; he will save us." ** Certainly divine Principle itself is our judge. That is, Principle is the power that brings to light in human consciousness the qualities of justice and righteousness.
** Isaiah 33:22.
When we support the court, what we're actually supporting is the spiritual qualities it symbolizes. Our prayer can be a recognition that divine Principle does govern. Our acknowledgement of this fact tends to relieve people of their antagonisms, their distrusts, their fears. It gives institutions and positions of authority a foundation that isn't subject to the vagaries of mortal personality.
Support for the court means buttressing our discernment that Principle rather than mortal persons is in control. This kind of prayer doesn't condemn individuals. It blesses them in a way that frees them from limitations. And it lifts all of us to a greater appreciation of how institutions can serve a vital role in society.