Elections, hope, and prayer
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Elections are so vital to the progress of humanity that it's important to me to keep myself hopeful and supportive of elections - not only in my country, but also in countries throughout the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
Looking for inspiration, I came across this: "Take a good look at my servant. I'm backing him to the hilt. He's the one I chose, and I couldn't be more pleased with him. I've bathed him with my Spirit, my life. He'll set everything right among the nations" (Isa. 42:1, Eugene Peterson, "The Message"). I smiled at how the passage resembled a campaign advertisement. But more than that, it has become a catalyst for hope about elections.
I have long been familiar with the King James Version's translation of that Bible verse: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The words "mine elect," and The Message's rendering, "He's the one I chose," caught my attention. Here was the voice of God speaking of His "elect," the "one [He] chose."
I wanted to know a bit more about this perfect candidate who "will set everything right among the nations." I was sure it wasn't a magical human personality somewhere, who would somehow rule the whole world to everyone's satisfaction. Nor would it be some particular group of persons who would rule over the rest of us.
The fundamental hope behind the concept of elections is that every person has value, is capable of making wise judgments, and has the potential to make things better. Elections have to do with government at its most basic level - individual self-government.
When citizens are given a voice in government by means of the ballot box, better, more equitable governments can emerge. One can reasonably ask, then, "What is the influence in human thought that moves us to make decisions that lead to better self- government and, therefore, to better government in the world?"
I believe this influence is holy, the voice of God, communicating directly to every person on earth, "You are My chosen one. I made all My children - you, and everyone else - in My image. I've chosen each one of you to express My just and merciful nature." This voice is "... Immanuel, or 'God with us,' - a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself ..." as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, explained ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page xi).
From God we learn, firsthand, that the identity of every man, woman, and child is actually spiritual and perfect, divine Love's very reflection. From the outset, God has chosen each voter and each candidate to express His intelligence, wisdom, goodness, and love. He has elected us for this purpose and has given us the ability to fulfill it, because His government is supreme.
In considering these ideas, I could see that what I needed to do in support of elections in my country and throughout the world was to allow the voice of God, above all others, to be the guiding voice in my thought.
In elections, knowing whom to vote for is the task of every citizen. In the political arena, a plethora of conflicting voices attempts to steer one's views toward this or that party, candidate, or issue. Not the least of these are the voices of one's own biases and opinions. Thankfully, though, every individual has a say in the government of his or her own thinking - and the voice of God to set it right.
Listening to God in prayer enables me to look beneath mere personality and find the genuine good in myself and in others. Keeping my thought tuned to what God knows of His children makes it easier to set aside personal opinions, listen respectfully and thoughtfully to the views of others, think clearly in sorting things out, and make sound judgments.
My prayer is to trust the influence of divine Love to govern me and everyone else before, during, and after elections. This influence offers so much hope of "set[ting] everything right among the nations."
God hath not given us
the spirit of fear; but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7