Some say that politics has become the new religion. We’re mesmerized by presidential hopefuls taking selfies with Kim Kardashan; excited or enraged by celebrities turned politicians taking the stage to blast the elite political class for their arrogance and political pandering; angered by the divisive rhetoric and personal attacks coming from those who promised to unite instead of divide us; and mystified by a congress that can’t seem to do anything right on either side of the aisle except attack each other personally and take home their weekly paychecks.
These Camelot distractions can leave us frustrated, fearful, wondering if we’re ever going to get it right as a nation and world. What happened to the law of love that was supposed to be our guiding light no matter what path we followed to God?
Brother Lawrence, the seventeenth-century lay monk who introduced practicing the presence of God taught that whenever he became fearful or frustrated by the world and all of its shenanigans, he lifted the world up in prayer asking and trusting that God would continue to move us toward authentic love as God faithfully has throughout the centuries.
Then, after having prayed for the world, Brother Lawrence would refocus his attention to his own inner transformation toward deeper unconditional love. He’d use the negativism of the world as a springboard to focus on what was within his control: continuing to become the authentic expression of God’s love in the world.
This two-step process, which we might call, praying the evening news, allowed Lawrence to entrust the world to God’s divine providence and detach himself from the folly of the world so that he could continue to work on his own inner spiritual transformation. As a result, Lawrence recognized he could make a difference in the world by pouring more love into it, or at least into himself and those with which he came into daily contact.
What would it be like, if instead of getting caught up in the false religion of politics, and its useless finger-pointing, we recognized the only real solution to the world’s problems is for each of us to work on who and what we can control: our spiritual selves?
Would our inner transformation impact the world much more deeply in the long run than whom we voted for? Would our prayer for the world as we watch the evening news distance us from the entanglement we often experience when viewing the onslaught of negative news pitched at us to increase network ratings and instead invite us to real authentic personal growth into who we are: Divine extensions of God’s love? Incarnation.
We’re in for a long year of politics and persuasion as the presidential campaigns gear up for the November 2016 election. Perhaps we might adopt Lawrence’s practice of praying the for the world and using the next sixteen months as a time for practicing the presence of God in our own lives, by opening ourselves up to a deeper experience of God’s love within and through us.
How would you experience the evening news differently if you used it as an opportunity to pray for the world and God’s providence over it?
What do you have more control over: continuing to evolve into the Being God created you to be: an authentic expressions of God’s love in the world versus which political candidate gets elected?
How can you replace the religion of politics with the spirituality of love in your own life?