Rescuing elections from routine
THE orderly process that characterizes many elections in modern democracies is reason for gratitude. But don't we need to be sure that we aren't slipping into ambivalent feelings about what can be an important step of progress for society? An election, like any other worthwhile activity, needs our active mental engagement. It needs not only our willingness to learn about the issues involved (and our effort to get to the polls); it also needs our sincere prayers. Supporting elections through prayer is a generous expression of our Christian love for our community and world.
Sometimes we forget how natural it is for us to reach beyond the immediate circle of our own work and family. We've probably experienced the satisfaction of helping to lighten someone's burden and provide tangible comfort. Giving our best thought in support of an election grows out of the same unselfish caring for others. This broader love finds its basis in God, infinite divine Love. Universal Love is man's true origin and empowers our love to be expansive and to grow in its genuine concern for humanity.
A challenge with elections is that on the long, patient road to the final balloting there is often a pull to the very opposite of unselfish love. In the barrage of nightly news reports and volumes of newsprint devoted to the candidates, we may feel overly saturated with information. Thought can be pulled into the extremes of indignation, boredom, apathy.
Christ Jesus said: ``...whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;...That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.''1 When he explained his words to the disciples, it was obvious he was talking about preserving the spiritual integrity of the thoughts coming out of our hearts. Worshiping people's personalities, developing disdain for certain individuals, or disavowing the significance of what is going on in an election season would spoil the purity of our Christian caring for the betterment of society. No matter how alarming or how boring the information coming to us, every newscast can be an opportunity to exercise spiritual intuition and sort through the mass of information and find genuine insight.
I remember one election morning waking up with a sense of futility about voting. What difference did it make? I thought to myself. The percentage wins had been forecast; the campaigning was over; it all seemed wrapped up. But in that morning's Bible study I came across a passage in Paul's letter to the Corinthians: ``It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren,...that there are contentions among you....that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?''2 The challenge, I saw, is to be less preoccupied with what would divide us into partisan interests and instead to actively consider that which unites us.
Our prayers need to support genuine forward movement and the hope that each election will be a step more compassionate and just for mankind. They need to acknowledge the supremacy of God's government, to see that in truth He alone governs man.
The aspirations we all have for better governments aren't just abstractions. They are the practical results of Christ working in individual hearts. Christ is what communicates God's love for man in a way that brings all of us to greater goodness by awakening us from the hypnotic pull to materialism. Greed, idleness, ignorance, pride, are not natural to the man whose origin is infinite Love. They are no part of our actual, spiritual selfhood. Christ not only nudges human thought in good directions; it brings opposing elements to the surface for exposure and rejection. At times the evidence of this leavening may seem very small, but it is nevertheless at work.
Mary Baker Eddy3 writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Christ's Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God. Neither emasculation, illusion, nor insubordination exists in divine Science.''4 Our actions should be based on divine Science, on a yielding to God's perfect design for man.
As I squeezed voting in between appointments that election day, I had a better sense that what I was taking time for was an honest, unselfish, Christian caring for my country, and a broader view of what was really going on.
1Mark 7:18, 20. 2I Corinthians 1:11-13. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health, p. 271. - NO BIBLE VERSE TODAY -