Friday, 18 January 2013

Unity and Harmony

File:Taizé prayer.JPG

Unity at Taize.

Here's a thought for the modern age from the pre-modern age:

From a Discourse Against the Pagans by Saint Athanasius.
The Word creates a divine harmony in creation.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made. In these words John the theologian teaches that nothing exists or remains in being except in and through the Word.
Think of a musician tuning his lyre. By his skill he adjusts high notes to low and intermediate notes to the rest, and produces a series of harmonies. So too the wisdom of God holds the world like a lyre and joins things in the air to those on earth, and things in heaven to those in the air, and brings each part into harmony with the whole. By his decree and will he regulates them all to produce the beauty and harmony of a single, well-ordered universe. While remaining unchanged with his Father, he moves all creation by his unchanging nature, according to the Father’s will. To everything he gives existence and life in accordance with its nature, and so creates a wonderful and truly divine harmony.
To illustrate this profound mystery, let us take the example of a choir of many singers. A choir is composed of a variety of men, women and children, of both old and young. Under the direction of one conductor, each sings in the way that is natural for him: men with men’s voices, boys with boys’ voices, old people with old voices, young people with young voices. Yet all of them produce a single harmony. Or consider the example of our soul. It moves our senses according to their several functions so that in the presence of a single object they all act simultaneously: the eye sees, the ear hears, the hand touches, the nose smells, the tongue tastes, and often the other parts of the body act as well as, for example, the feet may walk.
Although this is only a poor comparison, it gives some idea of how the whole universe is governed. The Word of God has but to give a gesture of command and everything falls into place; each creature performs its own proper function, and all together constitute one single harmonious order."
The sense of divine harmony - the choir of creation - strikes me as being far from incompatible with modern science.  From what little I understand of quantum physics, it seems perfectly reasonable to synthesise the two.  Richard Dawkins might see it as unnecessary, but frankly that doesn't bother me.
Harmony is what lies at the heart of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which we are in at the moment.  The harmony of different insights and emphases that makes the true and full unity of the Body of Christ.  May that harmony be our aim and goal this week.  Not just for this week, but for the ongoing life of the Church.

No comments:

Post a Comment