A STIRRING chapter in the Old Testament recently stood out to me as relevant to the issue of leadership, which is getting a lot of attention these days. Ezekiel describes the failure of the appointed ``shepherds to lead the people of Israel honestly. ``Ye eat the fat . . . but ye feed not the flock," he says. He then promises that God will Himself provide leadership: ``Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. . . . I will feed my flock, and I will cause th em to lie down. . . . I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick."
Couldn't we benefit by recognizing God's presence and power in our lives today? Government, business, civic and church organizations, family--all need strong leadership now as much as ever. Individual men and women will continue to fill leadership positions. But don't Ezekiel's words promise the coming of the Christ, the living evidence of God's power and presence which meets human needs? Jesus fulfilled that promise, and we can look to him for leadership.
Christ Jesus was not a politician, of course. He was God's Son, and he knew that his role was to explain God's nature to the people--and then demonstrate that man is truly God's spiritual and perfect offspring. He did this by healing moral and physical ills, and by overcoming mortality altogether in his own life. He was not seeking political power or popular approval. But what he showed of the true nature of God and man so stirred the hearts of people that a ``campaign"--for and against what he taught--d id take place, and still does.
This ``campaign" goes on within the heart of each individual. It's only over when Christ completely wins over that individual to his or her own native Christliness. Jesus revealed the power of Spirit over evil, and he taught that we must begin to prove this by expressing goodness, meekness, forgiveness, gratitude. When we adopt Christliness into our hearts and allow it to govern our thought and actions, we are accepting the leadership of Christ.
What is it that resists this leadership? The belief in and fear of evil, which are often expressed in derision of others, in harshness, intolerance, fear mongering, coupled with an overblown sense of one's own rightness. Ultimately, it is resistance to divine Love, God, as the real Father and Mother of us all.
Christian Science acknowledges the Christliness inherent in each individual. It is not partisan but universal. Its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, said of her politics, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany records, ``I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government; to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself."
It can be easy to spend hours mulling over and debating political views. But when we let Christ lead our thoughts, our political action becomes based on love--love for God and love for our neighbors, across the country and around the world.
One of the early Christians described Jesus as one ``who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. We can all strive to deepen this reign of Christliness in our own lives. Isn't this the sure path to better leadership for all? After all, if we are spiritually stronger as individuals--expressing integrity, honesty, unselfishness, purity--then we'll no doubt be be tter family members and business partners, as well as better citizens and participants in the political process. Then leadership in organizations and governments will increasingly be founded on a better basis for all, for we will be shepherded by divine Love.