If government doesn't govern

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

There's an African proverb that often describes politics well: "When elephants fight, the ants suffer."

In the political collisions of personalities and parties, and the resultant instabilities, it's the common people whose lives are affected. And in some nations, it seems as though the elephants are always fighting. Yet the purpose of government should be that the elephants, the politically powerful, benefit the ants, the men and women who get up every morning and go to work, raise their children, and trust that governmental institutions such as schools and courts are safe and just.

The chaotic effects of governmental instability on everyday life don't have to be an accepted part of our world. Public protests against governmental instability, however, often have a negative effect and contribute to further instability.

Perhaps we need to find a spiritual solution. And Christ Jesus pointed people in this direction. After his resurrection – and, according to the account in the book of Acts, immediately before his ascension – Jesus' disciples asked him a political question about the future of their government: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus chided them, and turned their thought away from political speculation, instructing them to be "witnesses unto me … unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:6, 8).

The move from being a political observer (and perhaps victim) to a witness of the Christ is huge. But it's a mental one, and we can make this move today, right where we are, in whatever nation we find ourselves living. It involves acknowledging that the true government, the government that Isaiah prophesied as "upon his [the Messiah's] shoulder" and of which "the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" (Isa. 9:6, 7) is more powerful in our lives than any human government.

This acknowledgment of true spiritual government quiets our concerns. In turning our thoughts to God in prayer, we find that we are beloved citizens of this spiritual government – and never just little ants to be stepped on.

In the calm of prayer, we can see that God's government is always beneficial. Every individual is cherished as the child of God, and all have a right to prosperity and health. God's government is stable, because God is unvarying good. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, used the word Principle to express the unchanging good nature of God. In her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote, "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, – perfect God and perfect man, – as the basis of thought and demonstration" (p. 259).

If God as Principle is the basis of our thought, we find a stability that is unshaken by political or economic elephants. This is the kingdom of heaven, a state of mind unmoved by any political turmoil.

Living the calm of God's government is possible in today's world. Right when one might be confronted with what appears to be a corrupt official or another set of indifferent faces, be they appointees of a new administration or employees in public offices, we can insist that we all are covered in God's government, cherished, productive, expressing a Christly love for one another. This turning to the true government of God will have an effect on our daily lives and transactions, and will result in blessings for all.

Let the people praise thee,
O God; let all the people
praise thee. O let the nations
be glad and sing for joy:
for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern
the nations upon earth.
Psalms 67:3, 4

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