It was election time. Candidates put forth carefully crafted images. Analysts spoke of hidden strategies and ''momentum.'' The slogan seemed the only form of speech. Emotions ran high and pollsters recorded their slightest shift.
As I prepared to go to the polls, I wondered how fully I was honoring the right to vote won at such cost by my forebears. Did my choices flow from my individual convictions, or had they unwittingly been swept up in a tide of public opinion? And even if I were about to vote ''my own mind,'' was this my highest voting right?
As I turned to God in prayer, I realized that I could honor my voting rights fully only as I placed them within a spiritual framework.
It may seem to everyday thinking as though a ballot permits at best a hopeful but imperfect electorate to choose a well-meaning but fallible leader. But there is more to these words of the Psalmist, referring to God, than inspired poetry: ''O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.'' n1
n1 Psalms 67:4.
Qualities such as unity, equality, and justice, toward which our laws strive, are evidences of divine government. Even though imperfectly seen in human life, this holy reign is continuously pouring forth boundless good. Confined to no political party are the justice that God as Truth supports, the equality that God as Principle upholds, the ties of brotherhood that God as Love ensures.
As we affirm in prayer this heavenly rule, we're freer not only from the obvious biases associated with politics but from the distortions inherent in worldly, materially based thinking. Knowing that the reins of power do not ultimately rest in the hands of an individual but with God, and that each public servant has access to the counsels of the Divine, our judgments become more spiritually substantial. Style and image are seen in a more correct perspective when we are actively seeking evidence of spiritual qualities in a candidate.
Thought leavened by prayer is also less likely to suffer from even the subtlest impositions on our voting rights - from, for example, the tendency to vote automatically for the same positions as our spouse does, or as our professional, denominational, or regional colleagues do, or even as we ourselves have habitually done. Our decisions are fresh and inspired.
The ballots of a group of mortals, each voting his or her ''own mind,'' can result only in a prevailing opinion - with the flaws inherent in any human opinion. But when decisions are informed by the ''mind of Christ'' n2 spoken of by Paul, rather than the entrenched attitudes of personal minds, spiritual light flows into the entire body politic. More of God's divinely ordained purpose appears in human affairs. The national welfare is advanced.
n2 I Corinthians 2:16.
In this way we align our human right to self-government with the one true power, of which Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes: ''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.'' n4
n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340.
We can claim far more than the right to vote our own minds. We can affirm that as God's offspring we possess the Mind of Christ, that we express the one infinite, supreme, divine Mind. Then our vote will have the resonance it deserves; and we can rejoice because, truly, it is God who will ''govern the nations upon earth.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might.