Reports of violent civil and political unrest have been coming from several Middle Eastern countries this year, starting with Tunisia, and spreading to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Turkey, which borders Syria as well as Iraq and Iran, has been experiencing its own kind of unrest related to the upcoming general elections to be held this weekend.
Because of Turkey’s increasing importance in the region, these elections have taken on historic meaning and are considered to be very important by most observers and voters. The election results will determine the direction the Turkish government will take for several years to come – at home, in the region, and on the international stage. It will also influence what kind of moderating role Turkey will play in the Middle East.
The stakes are high, and Turkish society is so polarized that it’s difficult to discern any political middle ground. There seems to be no unifying, stabilizing center – no peace of mind from which to reason logically about which party, which candidate, would best serve the country.
Having only extremes with no center is a recipe for chaos. Using the example of our solar system, we can understand that if there was no center of the universe – no sun – there would be nothing for the revolving planets to be attracted to, nothing to relate them to one another, no “middle ground.” Each planet would go on its own separate, egotistical way, determining its own orbit, most likely on a collision course with other planets. A center to the system is necessary for order, unity, and peace.
So if the political center (in any country) seems void, how can it be filled? Human reasoning would say that what’s needed is a party that leans neither right nor left. But history shows us that even centrally oriented parties can shift to the right or left, depending on current events and political influences, leaving the stabilizing center empty.
The only lasting and sure way to fill such a void is to recognize the role of divine Spirit in governing creation with wisdom. Spirit is infinite, all-inclusive, and eternal. Spirit is God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, “God is at once the centre and circumference of being” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 203-204). God’s center is infinite, unconfined, and unifying. It includes no dualism, partisanship, or extremism. It runs on intelligence, truth, and love.
We can anchor ourselves in God’s infinite, balanced, all-attracting center through prayer. When we put God at the center of our lives – first in everything we do – we can be sure to find peace of mind, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
This God-given, peaceful understanding provides clear wisdom for those who are deciding how to vote. It also guides the prayers for those of us who aren’t living in Turkey but wish to pray in support of the election. Instead of looking at the external aspects of a candidate – attractive personality, clever speeches, enticing campaign promises – this spiritual understanding considers spiritual qualities, such as intelligence, integrity, and brotherly love, as the basis for making a choice. It knows no divisive ethnic identities or religious sects. It sees all people as brothers and sisters under the one, all-loving God.
We can pray that on election day, each voting citizen of Turkey is God-endowed with the right to choose wisely, without erroneous influence or outside interference, the candidate best suited to unselfishly serve his or her country.
Mrs. Eddy described divine law in this way: “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience” (Science and Health, p. 106). In prayer we can recognize each individual’s ability to resist influences that confuse thought and undermine spiritual self-government. Guided by the divine intelligence, or Mind, each can have the discernment to see through the confusion and turmoil that often accompany elections. And even if the election doesn’t go the way people expect or hope, we can continue to trust God’s government of events.
This democratic election process needs and deserves our prayers, to the end that selfless, peace-loving leaders may be elected. Such leaders will help bring stability and peace to the Middle East, and to the world.
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