Not many people are sanguine these days about government. It sometimes appears to have taken on a life of its own.
Too often it seems to have become a self-contained system in which a little—or a lot of—corruption is taken for granted. Power politics may have been more outwardly violent in Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, but they are simply cousins of the aggressive style that can increasingly be found much closer to home.
We may wonder whether grassroots issues that concern us all—such as education, violence, drugs, and social inequities —will ever change for the better. Yet it has been proved repeatedly that progressive changes come when farsighted individuals catch a vision of how necessary—and how real and practical—moral standpoints and ideals actually are. Vaclav Havel, for example, spent over four years in prison for his anticommunist views. Now the President of Czechoslovakia, he knows firsthand the power of the individual to bring change.
In an essay entitled "Politics and Conscience," Havel writes, "It is becoming evident that politics by no means need remain the affair of professionals and that one simple electrician with his heart in the right place, honoring something that transcends him and free of fear, can influence the history of his nation." Havel has proved in his own experience that nothing is more powerful than the will of the people except the uplifted thought of the people.
We never need feel helpless. Each one of us can, through prayer, find new capacities to help bring change to a cynical climate of thought and a "why bother" attitude about government. The truth is that moral and spiritual values have power. They point to the way things properly function, and prayer makes this clearer.
"Honoring something that transcends him," Havel writes in the carefully oblique language of someone looking for a new and meaningful language about God. That which transcends is the God of the Bible, the God who governs His spiritual creation with wisdom and perfect harmony. When we glimpse something of this divine fact—what Christian Science terms spiritually scientific fact—it makes changes in our own lives and can make a remarkable difference to society. We begin by having more of God's government in our own lives.
The founder of this magazine, Mary Baker Eddy, explains that corrupt government depends largely on people's false view of God. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy points out: "The eastern empires and nations owe their false government to the misconceptions of Deity there prevalent. Tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed, wherever found, arise from the belief that the infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion, and impulse."
Christ Jesus gave the example of someone wholly in obedience to the loving Father-Mother God and so expressing the highest degree of self-government. The Master changed people's thinking from skepticism and fear to an understanding of God as divine Love, or the Principle of being, and healing and regeneration followed.
As people begin to understand themselves as spiritual, as God's creation and not mere mortals, they take hold of this potent spiritual truth. And as this revolution proceeds, we can expect to see entrenched attitudes softening and a more caring government emerging. Red tape and bureaucracy will begin to unravel and be replaced with genuine consideration and respect of individual rights.
Each one of us has an important role to play in this process. Every time we pray that God's will be done—and understand the sheer goodness and power of that divine will—we are learning more about He who governs government.