When we witness the devastation of the environment wrought by oblivious materialistic consumerism, harmony appears to us as a long lost past or as a distant aim that seems irredeemably divided from us. Pre-modern worlds appear as paradise lost and the ruthless rape of the earth’s resources as a brutal dislocation from true harmony. When science is divorced from wisdom, her gifts of new technologies and improved medicine are welcomed but in her materialistic dress as secular modernity, she seems to ride rough shod over traditional values. Some are then tempted to despair of modernity and to reach for post-modern solutions that embrace spirituality again but without pre-modern religion’s fundamentalist hatred of everything modern, except gadgets and bombs. When wisdom begins to dawn, an integral embrace begins to reintegrate the harmonious values of premodern worlds with a balanced handling of modernity together with post-modern critiques of unbalanced modernity, opening to a more balanced vision of harmony that transcends narrower and shallower versions that are no longer fit for purpose. When wisdom’s embrace is informed by Christian principles, divisive narrowness begins to give way to respect for healthy difference, enabling shallow confusion to transform into renewed vision of healthy union.
Saint Maximus saw that there is a crucial distinction between healthy difference and diseased division which does justice to wisdom’s discernment between wholesome union and sick confusion. Maximus saw that the wisdom of Christ, being trinitarian as well as unitive, avoids unhealthy confusions as well as unwholesome divisions. This forgotten vision brings to wisdom’s embrace in our time a dawning awareness that neglected wisdom, the triune wisdom of Christ, can heal what the many sick dualisms and monisms of pre-modernity and modernity have divided and confused. Shallow conformity to the conventions of consumerism can, with her help, begin to give way to wiser ways of handling divisive modern dualisms. Narrow fundamentalisms can, with her healing strength, begin to integrate what divisive fear saw as the enemy, enabling fear to transcend fear, terror to grow out of addictive terrorism. Wisdom is able to heal what division destroys by healing confusion, which is the unconscious root of every dissipating division. This healing energy of hallowing wisdom sees devastation but does not despair, transforming unhealthy confusion and division into a healthy embrace of unity and difference in the image of divine harmony. In this way, harmony is once again lived within harmony’s timeless origin, glory before our falls from grace united once again with glory coming to meet us from the age to come. Harmony within glory is timeless harmony beyond time, harmony in God communicating God through God.
Harmony needs wisdom to be able to embrace what confusion dissipates and division breaks apart, giving to every reintegration of integral vision in our time a capacity to heal what divisive versions of harmony could not. As glory descends to meet us, our ascending versions of harmony begin to shed their old confusions and divisions in the image of balanced harmony in God, whose energies are present everywhere, working powerful healing. Wisdom’s hallowing healing was hidden with Christ in God in ages that were unable to integrate her. But ours are desperate times, and wisdom’s neglect is no longer an affordable luxury. Her healing vision answers our catastrophic failure to heed sound insight with a wondrous capacity to renew creation. She has never lost her power to make all things new, but she does not force herself on us but waits for us to turn and see her uncreated presence in our midst. This gives to our many attempts to address the crises of our time a renewed capacity to rise above the confusions and divisions that threaten to destroy us, because wisdom in God is manifold, offering many ways of healing what our diseased perception has been poisoning. She gives us hope when all conventional lights have gone out. She opens the eye of our heart so that we can see, see with God’s single eye that heals all that it sees. Harmony seen within glory opens to many new dimensions of glory, glory without end unveiling harmony beyond harmony. There is no end to the capacity of harmony to heal, or to the capacity of wisdom to follow glory where glory leads, from glory to glory without loss of harmony.
This post ‘Harmony and Glory,’ and the preceding post, ‘Harmony and Peace,’ were both written during a period of sustained reflection on harmony that was eventually completed in the publication of a Harmony Project essay entitled: ‘The practice of Harmony in Orthodox Christian Wisdom’ March 2018. A link to this publication is to be found elsewhere on this website in the list of other Wisdom publications.