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The hereness and nowness of harmony

From the October 26, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, stands a life-size statue of a man sitting at his grand piano. The man is Oscar Peterson, a Canadian and one of history’s greatest jazz pianists. He recorded prolifically during his 62-year career, and, as the son of immigrants from the Caribbean, broke many racial barriers when he toured the world, including the segregated southern United States in the 1950s and 60s. Although drug use was rampant among his fellow musicians, he never took recreational drugs, always saying that if he did, it would kill his mother.

But back to the statue. As a part of the exhibit, a recording of Peterson’s music is playing at all times. This means that you can walk by that corner at 2:30 a.m. and hear his piano tinkling. Or, in the middle of a driving snowstorm at minus thirty degrees Celsius, his irresistible rhythms continue to delight.

For me, the statue, beyond reminding people of Peterson’s ongoing legacy, also communicates a spiritual truth: At all times, no matter what seems to be happening on the human scene, harmony is here. The harmony that I’m referring to is spiritual harmony from God, who supports His spiritual creation and forwards progress.

As we recognize our need to rely on God for harmony, we can see God’s kingdom of harmony uplift and improve human circumstances.

Beyond the conventional concept of God as big, powerful, and somewhere, Christian Science teaches that God is actually all-powerful, all-harmonious divine Principle and everywhere, filling all space. Instead of living in a material universe, we actually live in a universe of ideas caused by this Principle, and what we see with our eyes is a limited perception of these perfect, eternal ideas, including each of us, as the shining expression of God’s eternal harmony. This is the spiritual reality that the first chapter of Genesis depicts with figurative, poetic language. This is the new heaven and earth that the book of Revelation shares from the vision of St. John, who also saw the “new Jerusalem,” where there is no night, and no pain, death, or tears (see 21:1–4, 25).

This ongoing spiritual reality of harmony supports us always, whether we are aware of it at this moment or not. The need, then, is to be mentally still enough to feel this supporting ever-presence and let it take us forward.

The law of harmony leads us forward by “feeding” us with ideas. These aren’t generic or random ideas. They are specific, perfectly fitted for us and our situation. They may come as directions regarding how to think or what actions to take in order to practically bring out the reality of this harmony. Here’s an example.

Recently a friend was working on a vital project for a Canadian federal government agency. The project was for thirty days of work to assess the effectiveness of a program and then deliver a report with findings. At the end of the project, my friend felt strongly guided by all-harmonious God to add an annex to the report providing more context on the program. The contract she had signed did not include this added work, so she certainly didn’t expect to be paid for it. Despite that, she felt divine Love was telling her to stick with the idea of doing the additional analysis and reporting. Shortly after she delivered the work, a senior official in the organization asked if she had used all the allotted days in the contract. She told her that she had, and that she had spent another five days developing the annex. 

Let God’s law of harmony be present in your consciousness. 

Without any expectation on the part of my friend, the official amended her contract, and she was paid for the extra work. But further, when the president of the agency read the annex, its findings prompted her to ask my friend to do even more work on best practices and recommendations for the agency. So the contract was extended another ten days. The final recommendations were acknowledged to be helpful to the agency, providing management with practical measures for improving their program, which contributed to the safety and security of all Canadians and the environment. This was evidence to my friend that when we listen to God, everyone is blessed. 

In demonstrating the reality of the presence of harmony, we should never fear. That’s easy to say, but in the midst of daily life’s almost constant challenges, how do we not fear? Innate to what we are as children of God is an intuitive spiritual sense that everything is actually all right and harmonious, no matter what appearances may be. It takes childlike trust in this spiritual sense as well as moral courage to not fear and to reject discord as having neither support nor legitimacy in us or our lives because of the ever-presence of all-harmonious Principle. As we cultivate that trust and moral courage, the conviction of the hereness and nowness of harmony grows, and we witness this kingdom of God demonstrated in healing and in the harmonization of situations. 

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, defines Kingdom of Heaven as “the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme” (p. 590). Jesus said that we should seek the kingdom of heaven and God’s righteousness first and then we would see that all of our needs are being met (see Matthew 6:32, 33). He also talked about the kingdom of heaven as being present now, and that this was proven by the healing works he did (see Matthew 12:28), and he promised that his followers would do the same works (see Mark 16:17, 18).

In the Beatitudes, Jesus stated what could be considered a spiritual fact: “How blest are those who know their need of God; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3, New English Bible). As we recognize our need to rely on God rather than human circumstances for harmony, we become aware of that kingdom of harmony and can see it uplift and improve human circumstances.

To selflessly and humbly lift our thought to an awareness of the power of this law of harmony to govern a human situation is to pray. Jesus’ prayers to God “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) and “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) illustrate this opening of oneself to present harmony—to the divine kingdom. The Bible indicates that when Jesus prayed the latter prayer, he was preparing to allow the crucifixion to happen in order to illustrate through his resurrection that God’s government has dominion over human affairs, including hate and violence. This indicates how selflessness lets God’s harmony into our lives.

Selflessness means not worrying about how a situation will work out for us personally but rather letting God’s law of harmony be present in our consciousness, allowing ourselves to be instruments of God’s will. Self-will can take the form of holding fast to what we imagine would be a good solution to a problem and even pushing for that solution. This contrasts with prayer, which involves holding fast to spiritual reality—and then selflessly letting that spiritual harmony guide us to right thoughts and actions. We are happiest, and experience the kingdom of heaven—the reality of harmony—best when we allow that reality rather than emotions or the limited perceptions of the physical senses to move us.

Whatever our circumstances, we can feel this ever-operative law of harmony supporting us and taking us forward to bless and be blessed.

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