YESTERDAY the United States inaugurated its new President. It is a time of hope and newness both for that country and for nations who will be dealing with the Clinton administration. In that context, it seems appropriate to offer thoughts and prayer for leaders and governments around the world. New leaders often come to office on a sea of hopes and expectations that the people will be benefited and that progress will take place. This is right and normal, but the Bible shows clearly that human effort alon e is not enough.
Over and over again, the Bible speaks of the importance of turning to God and to spirituality as the basis for real progress. This spirituality isn't the property of a particular religious denomination or national outlook. It is the actual nature of man, the true being of each one of us. Christ Jesus made this very clear in his teachings. He explained, ``God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'' By turning to God, divine Spirit, as we pray for our country and i ts leaders, we open ourselves to God's government over us and our surroundings.
This does not mean we ignore the challenges nations are facing. Rather, by turning to God we look beyond the limitations that materialism would impose on us and rely on God's specific love for each of His children. And since God is good, we are embracing His good for ourselves and for the world.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was very conscious of the need to pray for this divine government for ourselves and for our leaders. In a piece titled ``Other Ways Than by War in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, she writes that divine Love requires two things of us. The first is a willingness to love God more than anyone or anything else.
This means that we need to give up greed, selfishness, fear, pride, self-aggrandizement, personal power, and to replace them with spiritual qualities such as intelligence, peace, purity, truth, wisdom. These qualities are a practical help both to us and to our leaders because they are a universal currency for good rather than evil. They also fulfill the second requirement she mentions, which is to love our fellow humans.
Kindness, strength, and goodness illustrate some of the highest ideals of any nation or government. And these are only a few of the spiritual qualities Christ Jesus expressed as he set an example for us to follow. Through prayer, we discover not just how to love those who are close to us but also our legislators and other leaders. By looking for evidence of their true spiritual nature, we recognize their sonship as children of God.
Perhaps that sounds too hopeful! But Mrs. Eddy affirms the power of God's government in dealing not just with our personal lives but also with nations. Writing of the United States in the article just mentioned, she says: ``The government of divine Love is supreme. . . . Let us have the molecule of faith that removes mountains,--faith armed with the understanding of Love, as in divine Science, where right reigneth. The revered President and Congress of our favored land are in God's hands.'' God's love do esn't rest on political positions or policies. It rests on the fact that man is spiritual, not material, and that aspirations toward good open the way to individual and national progress. As we pray for progress toward good and recognize the spiritual nature of all those around us, including our leaders, we will be contributing to advancement for our nations and for the world.