Government and self-government

Everything in my neighborhood gets covered with posters or handbills at some time. Mailboxes, lampposts, fences, buildings. The other day a group pasted a handbill over the subway entrance advocating the abolition of government.

This gave me pause. If one looks at the situations in Lebanon and Uganda, for instance, it would seem obvious that we live in a time that demands, more than ever before, prayer for effective and stable government. "Without a proper system of government and form of action," notes Mary Baker Eddy, "nations, individuals, and religion are unprotected . . . ." n1

n1 Manual of The Mother Church,m Art. I, Sec. 9;

For those concerned about governmental instability, there is much reassurance in one of the psalms: "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth." n2 This is not a promise for the distant future; it's a promise being fulfilled now.

n2 Psalms 67:3, 4.

However, a false sense of God has hidden this fact from humanity's view. For centuries many people have taken statements like this to indicate that God would descend to earth as some form of super-king and literally rule over the nations. But this view is a misapprehension of the Bible's teachings. Christ Jesus taught that God is not corporeal. He explained, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." n3 The understanding that God is incorporeal Spirit, present now throughout the universe, is a step toward recognizing that God's government of the nations is a current possibility. We don't have to wait for a supernatural event but can find evidence today of the influence of divine Spirit producing wisdom and integrity in man.

n3 John 4:24.

Jesus was God-governed. And he taught people to feel this unity with God themselves. The eternal Christ, the spirit Jesus manifested, comes to people's hearts and minds, giving evidence of the power and presence of God. The activity of the Christ awakens us to feel our oneness with God and to respond to the impulse of His direction.

This fact gives us a clue to the nature of true government. Mrs. Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, "Reflecting God's government, man is self-governed." n4 The Bible defines God as Love. Therefore man -- the true man, who is not material but spiritual and reflects the government of divine Love -- is loving, peaceable, merciful. God is also defined in the Scriptures as Truth. Therefore, reflecting the government of Truth, man is just , and filled with integrity.

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 125;

Recognizing and responding to God's direction individually, we begin to understand how divine Spirit unifies nations and impels good government. True government is divine -- God governing His idea. Therefore it is eternal and immutable. When responded to with sincerity and faithfulness in individual lives, it is felt as a divine presence and force surging through the life of men and women, forming and shaping thoughts and deeds. In this way the dynamic government of God comes to earth and reigns.

If all we can see in chaos, disruption, and turmoil, the Bible again provides comfort and assurance. The opening book, Genesis, records: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." n5 Wherever there seems to be a void or chaos, we can become aware that right there, at this instant, ever-present Spirit is in fact active. Divinity abhors a vacuum. There can be none in Spirit, for God is All-in-all. On the other hand, the evidences of righteous government we do see -- the order, peace, justice, and equity -- are appearing at the insistent urge of Spirit. As we realize this great fact, these qualities will take firmer root in human consciousness, thereby shaping wiser, more stable g overnment on the human scene.

n5 Genesis 1:2.

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