Someone once remarked that if New York was all about sophistication and Los Angeles was all about having fun, Washington, D.C., was all about power. It certainly seems that way, especially if I am in one of Washington's famous restaurants in the evening. I find it's easy to imagine feeling the currents of power flowing from table to table. Is the big guy over there deciding the fate of nations or trying to persuade a congressman to his point of view? Or is he only a tourist from my hometown, St. Louis, having a nice steak after a hard day of looking at exhibits in the Smithsonian?
It's undeniable that at this time in history, momentous decisions are being made in Washington regarding the war against terrorism. Also at this time, it's useful to step back and remember what the Bible tells us about power. King David, the most powerful politico-military leader of his time and place, has been assumed by some to have written this Psalm: "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Ps. 62:11).
Once or twice a day - and sometimes more often than that - I find it helpful to refocus my view of power, to prayerfully affirm that, in fact, power resides in the Almighty. This power vastly overshadows political pressures and expediencies. It covers all parties impartially, and another name for it is universal divine Love.
While the current catch phrase "axis of evil" has a certain cachet and clarifies specific political objectives, it's important to remember that God does not have - or send our way - both good ideas and evil ideas. He has only good ones, and those includes us. There is only one creation, and it is totally good. So in reality, none of us can be evil. Jesus explained the origin of evil as simply a lie. Speaking of the devil, or Satan, Jesus said, "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).
An axis of evil, when viewed this way, is not a geopolitical designation. It stands for the false claim that God made evil and that some people are evil. That doesn't mean that we should ignore the threat of terrorism. But by isolating the lie from God's creation, we can protect ourselves and others from believing that people are evil.
Praying for those in authority brings us to a new level of democratic participation in our governments. One Biblical author wrote: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (I Tim. 2:1,2). We can pray that our political leaders be guided by spiritual intuitions to take the course of action that blesses the greater good, not a course of action informed by a spirit of fear or revenge.
In 1898 during the Spanish-American war, the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote for the Boston Herald what we might call today an op-ed piece, titled "Other Ways than by War." After expressing conventional sentiments that diplomatic negotiations were always preferable to armed conflict, but that sometimes wars were necessary to prevent greater evil, Mrs. Eddy brought her readers to a new level. She wrote: "The government of divine Love is supreme. Love rules the universe, and its edict hath gone forth: 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' and 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' 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 First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pg. 278).
Let us pray to know that all our world's leaders are in God's hands, under the government of divine Love, where there is no axis of evil.
The Lord is nigh unto
all them that call upon him,
to all that call upon
him in truth.