The realness of what we long for

Beautiful music hints at the reality of harmony. Spiritual healing proves it.

In "Master Harold" ... and the boys, Athol Fugard's acclaimed drama of contemporary South Africa, there's a speech that indicates humanity's innate hunger for harmony. In it Sam, a black waiter, explains to Hally, a white schoolboy, why the local dance competition means so much to him: "There's no collisions out there, Hally. Nobody trips or stumbles or bumps into anybody else. That's what that moment is all about. To be one of those finalists on the dance floor is like ... like being in a dream about a world in which accidents don't happen. ... And it's beautiful because that is what we want life to be like." Even Hally, who to this point has been disdainful of the beauty Sam sees in ballroom dancing, identifies with what Sam is talking about. He says, "You've got a vision, Sam!" To which Sam responds, "Not just me. What I'm saying to you is that everybody's got it." "Master Harold" ... and the boys (New York: Penguin Books, 1982), pp. 45–46.

And don't we? Perhaps you've recognized this deep desire for harmony through art or music. For instance, have you ever found yourself so moved by the harmonious weave of sounds at a live symphony performance that you felt you just wanted to stay there? It's not that you wanted to remain in the performance hall; it's a desire to hold on to the feeling of integration, wholeness, peace, that transcends the tug and tangle of our daily affairs. Such an experience not only points to something we long for; it points to something entirely real.

When I had this kind of experience at a symphony concert recently, I came away with a more vivid understanding of God. As a student of Christian Science, I have long thought of God as Principle and also as Soul, two of the synonyms for God often used in Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy (see, e.g., 465:8–14). Principle makes me think of the integrity, supremacy, and infallibility of God's government; Soul, the multiplicity, beauty, and range of God's expressiveness and creative power. Both have helped me to understand the nature of God, but they always seemed to me to be dissimilar, if not almost independent of each other—like accounting and improvisational theater!

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Laborers in the vineyard
January 16, 1989

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