Symphonic diplomacy – and the touch of Christ
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
If someone had predicted some years ago that in 2008 North Korea would host the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in its capital, Pyongyang, that person would probably have been dismissed as at least unrealistic, if not foolish.
But in February, that's exactly what happened. Nearly 400 people – including 80 journalists – and 12 tons of equipment were allowed to enter a country known for tight controls over its citizens and suspicious treatment of outsiders.
Michelle Kim, one of the Philharmonic's musicians, was born in South Korea to parents who had fled from the North. After attending a lavish musical program put on by the North Koreans, she told a reporter, "I didn't think for a second they were North Koreans, or South Koreans" (The New York Times, Feb. 26). In other words, something was evident that transcended mere nationality. Her words represent a larger truth than the obvious differences between the two countries. In the presence of harmony, something higher emerges – a common humanity. Something that points toward the divine intelligence and love that unite all of God's children.
However dominant that cacophony may seem at times – taking form as continuing concerns about North Korea's nuclear program, or the tension between Turkey and Iraq, or the troubles in Afghanistan and Pakistan – it's vital to refuse it the right to shape one's thinking or outlook. Whether noisy or silent, evil can never know the peace of the Christ – the spiritual truth of God's love for the man He created, both male and female.
Christ presents the one Mind, in harmony with itself and its creation. Under Mind's government, order, joy, intelligence, goodness, justice, and love are natural. These qualities always unite, never divide. They inevitably lead to harmony because they are products of one divine and all-loving Mind.
This harmony is the reality right now. And Christ will reveal the way out of chaos and into harmony, because it's the nature of Christ to unite, to bring good to light with power that evil cannot withstand.
During Jesus' lifetime and since, the voice of Christ, Truth, has spoken to many a heart. It has shown itself in nations' willingness to work together to find solutions, even when impasses threaten, and to refuse to accept the belief that the world needs to be divided into insiders and outsiders.
Christ protects not only individuals, but also nations. It's not unnatural to be concerned about the number and location of missiles still on the planet. Or about possible danger from what have been dubbed "rogue states." Or what the final impact of the financial troubles in the United States will be on world markets.
Christ will never abandon us. Christ continues to speak to us and to all. While not everyone may describe spiritual intuitions in terms of Christ, whoever listens to them will be guided toward unity and harmony and away from separation and arrogance. In fact, one way to ascertain the authenticity of a thought or message is through its healing nature – the inspiration, freedom, and joy it brings.
On the world scene, a healing thought can translate into a willingness to give up one's personal view that certain countries are "the enemy" and that only some are "friends." It enables one to refuse to assume that God speaks only to certain nations or peoples, and that the rest are on their own. As Mary Baker Eddy explained in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound" (p. 559).
While much remains to be done in the diplomatic work with North Korea, the recent concert there shows, however modestly, that the struggle is worth the effort.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.