A Christian Science perspective: Making music together is a metaphor for life.
Many people have either participated in some kind of group or choral singing – classical, modern, theatrical – or enjoyed being part of the audience. And sometimes family and friends still gather around the piano and blend their voices to create a sound larger than they can make separately.
When people hold music in front of them, they’re yielding to an authority outside themselves. The conductor keeps them together by indicating the tempo and the musical dynamics. They are reminded to listen to the piano, organ, or orchestra in order to stay in tune. And listening to their fellow musicians helps everyone stay on track.
The end result is a blend of sound and a message bigger than what one individual could make. Even if one’s voice is not trained or operatic, it still adds a positive benefit to the greater whole because it supports the general effort.
Often I have thought back to rehearsals and performances, and realized I’d learned something that could benefit groups in other areas of life, such as church, community, and world government. It’s not unusual to see on the news how people in economically depressed or war-torn countries pull together an orchestra or chorus that inevitably brings about a definite positive effect on the participants as well as on those who listen to and support those organizations.
When a business or political organization has a clear mission statement, and when members of that organization keep that mission uppermost in thought, there is often a harmonious and collective effort that results in unified progress.
How incredibly beneficial it would be if nations could put aside the beliefs of self-interest, tribalism, and competition within their own ranks and subordinate themselves to the collective good. Instead of arm-wrestling, there would be embracing. Instead of self-centered pride, there would be participation. Instead of shooting, there would be sharing. Everyone would benefit.
Not everyone sings or plays an instrument. But everyone has the capacity to focus on the nature of God as One, as universal Love, as present right here and now. We can all do that. Every man, woman, and child has the innate spiritual sense to turn to, and acknowledge, God’s goodness and capacity to bless humanity. And to love one’s neighbor as oneself.
When we recognize that there is only one God, good, then that immediately begins to reduce dissension, conflict, and disharmony. The writer of the book of Malachi in the Old Testament preached God’s covenant with His children – that He loves His children in spite of the temporary conflict that took place between two brothers, Jacob and Esau. A conflict that was completely resolved by their turning to God. Malachi said, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Malachi 2:10).
The Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians to find their unity by being “joined together” in the teachings of the Master, Christ Jesus, through the consciousness of the supremacy and goodness of God the Father: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). As unrealistic and unreasonable as this might sound, just think what a tremendously harmonious effect it would have on the world if everyone united for just one hour periodically to accept and affirm that we all have one Father, just as the members of a chorus or orchestra submit humbly to the music in front of them. There would be incredible and joyous harmony and unity among humanity, just as there is when musicians follow the music, watch the conductor, and conscientiously stay in tune to the best of their ability.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, prophesied this universally harmonious effect when humanity acknowledges one infinite God, good. She wrote, “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” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340).