I am a regular contributor to the Danbury News Times Forum on Faith column, which is also picked up by the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. Here is today’s article:
Prayer is a Campaign that Keeps its Promises
During the Ridgefield Clergy Association town ecumenical Thanksgiving service last fall, I shared gratitude from the pulpit that “the government was upon His shoulder,” as it is promised in the book of Isaiah. This earnest statement on my behalf elicited an eruption of laughter from the assembled congregation, indicating the level of disillusionment and disaffection many feel currently for the political process and its outcomes. I hadn’t meant to be funny.
As Christian Scientists, we are charged with praying daily for our nation and the world. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church, loved democracy so much she established our churches as “distinctly democratic.” She expected us, both within church and out of it to be self-governed by reflecting God’s government, and to work avidly for peace and harmony in the world, beginning with our own thought and behavior.
Mrs. Eddy had much to say on the subject. I’ve found the following quotes particularly helpful in modeling how I think about government at all levels:
•“Man is properly self‐governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.”
•“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.’”
•“Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, nations are helped onward towards justice, righteousness, and peace, which are the landmarks of prosperity. In order to apprehend more, we must practice what we already know of the Golden Rule, which is to all mankind a light emitting light.”
•“When pride, self, and human reason reign, injustice is rampant. Individuals, as nations, unite harmoniously on the basis of justice, and this is accomplished when self is lost in Love — or God’s own plan of salvation. ‘To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly’ is the standard of Christian Science.”
•“Know ye not that he who exercises the largest charity, and waits on God, renews his strength, and is exalted? Love is not puffed up; and the meek and loving, God anoints and appoints to lead the line of mankind’s triumphal march out of the wilderness, out of darkness into light.”
•“I am asked, ‘What are your politics?’ I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government; to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself.”
•“Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness.”
•“One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”
To Christian Scientists, this is no laughing matter, but an essential, sovereign responsibility, taken very seriously. To the degree that I am consciously subject to God, I experience divine Love governing.
I have the power to choose whether my thoughts about government are going to be frustrated and negative or helpful and constructive. Daily and hourly, I regularly and proactively cast my mental votes for unity, peace, justice and love.
I believe that the democracy of collective, unbiased prayer is the most effective and aligning influence at work in the world. It is an unseen powerful force we can all contribute to, a campaign that will keep its promises.
Polly Castor is a Christian Science Practitioner and a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ridgefield. She can be reached at PollyCastor@gmail.com