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Symphonic diplomacy – and the touch of Christ

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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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.

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