Prayer and Election Day

SOMETIMES I've wondered, since God, the only true power, governs, why vote at all? Today is Election Day in the United States, and people are making final decisions about candidates and issues. Yet, many, many people feel for one reason or another that voting is an exercise in futility. For them it doesn't seem possible that just one person's voice or contribution could matter.

Sure, we can all think of examples of people whose individual contributions have made such a tremendous difference that everyone is better off. You may not feel that you are the kind of person who could contribute that way. Well, actually you are that kind of person--and you have the potential to prove it!

Man's true identity is something quite different from what a cursory examination--an examination utilizing merely the five material senses--might lead us to believe. Man is, in fact, the expression of God, divine Spirit. God is pure Spirit, and therefore the real man is spiritually pure, untouched by material beginnings or circumstances.

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God is infinite good, and each of us is God's reflection, expressing spiritual goodness. Do you see what that says about your potential? It means that your possibilities are tied, not to human opportunities, but to your reflection of God. ``Man is God's image and likeness; whatever is possible to God, is possible to man as God's reflection,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in her Miscellaneous Writings (p. 183).

The one whose example best illustrates this fact lived in the Middle East about two thousand years ago. The truths that he demonstrated then are in force today, and just as powerfully, since they are based on spiritual law. He was Christ Jesus, and he made more of a difference to mankind than has anyone else. Once, when he was in Jerusalem, a crowd brought to him a woman who'd been caught committing adultery. They said to Jesus, John's Gospel records, ``Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?''

When Jesus replied to their persistent questioning, he answered, ``He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'' The Bible account continues: ``And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more'' (8:5, 7-11).

Jesus' voice cut through the crowd's clamor. Why were his words and actions so potent? Because he spoke and acted at the impulse of God. People were helped, not through the personal will of Jesus, but because divine power was brought to bear on a situation through Jesus' reflection of God.

Our voice can be heard through the crowd too, whether we are a public official, running for public office, or are casting our votes to decide about elections or issues. When we realize our own reflection of God's divine goodness and care for man, we think and act in ways that truly help and contribute. It doesn't matter what the world is doing all around us, we can quietly listen for God's guidance and follow it.

Yes, God certainly does govern man without exception. Yet because man expresses and reflects God, man is necessary in the scheme of God's activity. Therefore how each of us chooses to act and live each day matters--Election Day included. We can either make choices based on emotion and influenced by human opinion, or we can humbly choose to listen for the divine direction that results in true blessings, both for us and for mankind.

Prayer doesn't fit only into Election Day; it is primary to our contributing to the good of mankind every day. God's care for man must be expressed in human events. God is omnipotent and all-wise, and we work to express this when we follow His guidance in every aspect of our lives--including voting, running for office, and serving in official capacities.

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