Reaching for better government

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

As one instance after another of political upheaval takes precedence in the news, it's important to fan the flames of hope that greater justice can emerge.

Centuries ago, a prophet spoke of the way he heard God's assurance: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (Ezek. 21:27).

While that overturning refers to more than political regimes, we can take comfort in the fact that God's will is meant to be done "on earth, as it is in heaven." God's good will has specific application in Kosovo, East Timor, Chechnya, and various African nations, as well as the many countries chafing more quietly under governments not of their choosing - Kashmir and Tibet, for example.

Sanctions and armed intervention are sometimes important means of rectifying wrongs, and the United Nations consistently gives aid in the effort to foster more democratic and civil societies. But if the hearts of every one of us are not reformed, can those efforts accomplish their best work? Greed and mere self-interest do in fact end more rapidly when there is recognition of, desire for, and specific prayer to see God's government on earth.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, first wrote a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The Preface says, "Though empires fall, 'the Lord shall reign forever' " (pg. vii). Further on one may read: "God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love" (pg. 106).

This points to an actual link that every individual has with the creator, through which he, she, possesses a spiritual freedom that cannot be put down. As individuals, we can learn to be "properly self-governed" - to allow Truth and Love to guide us. This may not be a quick fix, but it's the way in which we'll make up a body politic that naturally fosters more humane laws and benign enforcement.

We really can call on God to reflect more of His love in our hearts. And any instance of this promotes justice everywhere.

Maybe you've been advised that people need love most when they deserve it the least; to give them the love whenever they need it. This approach has often helped me to refrain from tallying up the wrongs in a given situation and, instead, to ask God for the needed "overturning" to take place, trusting it will occur in God's own way.

In this age when communication is instantaneously global, one cannot escape knowledge of turmoil in world governments. It may be discouraging if you're a mere bystander. But we have the opportunity to become more than onlookers. It's actually worth allowing ourselves to be disturbed - disturbed enough, that is, to be awakened from any complacency or delusion of peace when there is no peace.

There are hardships going on for so many individuals. That's why we need to lay hold on the fact that God's help is available to each and every oppressed person right now, and right where he or she is. In fact, the freedom that great spiritual leaders have envisioned for the world goes far beyond political autonomy, and includes freedom from hardship and suffering of every kind.

Groups and nations will be better governed as individuals exercise the highest form of self-government. This includes, and must always include, control of our own thinking.

Countries are at different places in their progress toward the ideal human government. This is not cause for despair, but for rejoicing that the overturning that accompanies progress will eventually lead to peace on earth. "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth" (I Chron. 16:31).

Like plowing a field, prayer creates a better seedbed for the growth of better governments.

You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist:

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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