IN the last few months, the struggle of the Russian people and their leaders to establish a stable government has been much in the news. Resolving political disorder into smooth working relationships is no easy task. No matter what the outcome of yesterday's elections, however, our prayers can help to support both the government and the people in their desire for peace and progress.
Nation-building requires a firm foundation, of the sort that Christ Jesus spoke about in a parable that was part of his Sermon on the Mount. In the parable, which is found in the Bible in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus spoke of two men--one built his house on sand, the other on rock. When the rains came, the house built on sand was swept away. But of the house built on rock, Jesus said, ``The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock'' (7:25).
That rock represents Christ, the spiritual idea of God and man. Christ is God's message to each of us, declaring that we are spiritual, helping us to understand that the material body and world have no real power over us. As ideas of God, divine Mind, we include intelligence, love, purity, and joy. These and other spiritual qualities express our true nature. As we put them into practice, we find that they are also the foundation of our thoughts and our lives.
These same God-derived qualities make up the foundation for all government. Love, justice, peace, wisdom, are elements that make for good government, whether in Russia or elsewhere. Yet it is important to recognize that they have a deeper basis than good intentions or the acts of particular leaders. Christ's message of spirituality enables us to express these and other God-given qualities without prejudice and without limitation.
In our prayers, we can affirm the spiritual nature of man as an omnipresent fact. And we can also pray to see the government of divine Mind expressed. Intelligence and harmony can be heard above the voices of materialism, countering their message of hopelessness--of life built on sand, not rock--with the assurance that man is governed only by God. In our prayers for Russia--and for our own nations--we can recognize that, like Christ Jesus, we have an unshakable unity with our Maker. Nothing can ever separate God's children from their loving Father or from the Rock--the Christ, Truth--that is humanity's guide.
Each of us can hear God's voice and respond to His government. In fact, it is natural for us to do so! We have a Biblical basis for this in the lives of Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, and many others. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The Soul-inspired patriarchs heard the voice of Truth, and talked with God as consciously as man talks with man'' (p. 308). When we listen and pray with an honest desire to hear Truth's message we are building on the Rock, because we are reaching for a higher truth than can be found in a particular governmental system or individual leader. Such prayer works on behalf of--instead of against--the efforts of those who govern. It helps them perceive right answers.
Our willingness to give up personal opinions and to accept something of Truth's omnipresence is like a crack in a wall between light and darkness. One little crack can let in the light so clearly that others will see and reach for the light also. This is what makes prayer so exciting and rewarding. Our willingness to build on the Rock has an impact around the globe. And the world's progress toward peace in at least some areas shows us the power of Christ, Truth, to transform mankind.