On August 21, Australians will go to the polls to elect a new government. Media attention on the personalities of the two main political party leaders has been relentless. This has resulted in diverting the electorate from discussions on the key issues in this election – the economy, climate change, and immigration.
While the usual view of elections is that they are all about the performance of a political party and its leaders, couldn’t they also be seen as an assessment of the electorate as well? In a democracy, the voting public has a responsibility to set the tone of an election by choosing to support the qualities of true leadership, such as integrity, accountability, and a vision for the future.
Because the source of these qualities is God, we can have confidence that they are impersonal in nature – not attached to a personality, to charisma, or to political self-interest. Leadership is an ability that belongs to all, and it is important to recognize this not only for ourselves but for others. It demands that we look beyond personality and recognize the impersonal government of God, operating in our communities and nations.
Though not elected, Christ Jesus was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was alert to the dangers of the worship of his personality. He showed how this evil would attempt to hide from the people the source of his healing power and spiritual leadership. When someone addressed him as “Good Master,” Jesus directed the individual toward God by responding, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:16, 17).
Another time, Jesus challenged the people who had gone into the desert to see John the Baptist. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see?” he asked, “A reed shaken with the wind?” (Matt. 11:7). To me, Jesus was alerting the people to look away from the human personality to the true sense of John. He knew that John’s important message would be hidden from them if they did not look beyond the surface.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to Scriptures,” “Man is the likeness of Spirit, but a material personality is not this likeness” (p. 544). As we accept that everyone’s true identity is the likeness of Spirit, we’ll be able to cut through the emotionalism and confusion that surround the overcharged atmosphere at election time. Each individual, as the spiritual idea of God, can be respected and honored. The truth of this spiritual identity penetrates the mask of material personality and reveals the good that can be trusted and relied upon.
Our prayers can support the principles that underpin the governments of countries such as Australia. We need to be willing, as part of a world community, to put aside personal opinions and look for the good even in those whose political views are not our own. This prayer by its very nature is impartial because it is motivated by the Christ, the divine influence operating within human consciousness. This influence brings to the material situation peace instead of reaction. It is an impersonal power that operates under the government of God.
At election time, however, many people are faced with doubts and fears. Some are anxious that a change in government may have the power to inflict some hardship upon them or deprive them of benefits they have enjoyed. Our prayers, based on an understanding of God’s love and care for all His children, will bring healing to those fears. The impersonal, impartial power of God’s government includes everyone. No one is left out or marginalized; all are included in the universality of His love.
In preparing for an election, our prayers are needed to dissolve any divisions within the community. Prayer can support our leaders’ need to govern with integrity and insight. It opens the way for God’s government to bring more harmony and order throughout the world.