Reading about Christians reaching out to far flung corners of the globe is nothing new. Reaching out to perhaps the most cloistered nation in the world is worth noting.
Veteran Christian pop band Casting Crowns is on its way to North Korea to play in the capital of Pyongyang. The Communist nation is hosting its 25th annual Spring Friendship Arts Festival. The band first played at the festival two years ago. They will be appearing with the classically trained Annie Moses Band, which will be making its first trip to North Korea.
Around midnight Eastern time, Crowns lead singer Mark Hall posted on his Twitter page that the band was looking at 13 hours of travel, beginning in L.A. An earlier post mentioned that Internet communication will be impossible during the visit.
The Annie Moses Band does not specifically mention the trip on its Facebook page, but lead singer Annie Wolaver told the Associated Press she is very aware of the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea including the recent provocative missile launch.
“No matter where you’re living in the world, music is meant to be experienced by all humanity,” she said. “Very few artists and very few Western groups in general are able to go to North Korea.”
There appear to be two pretty clear stances to take here.
One is cynical, that these groups are allowing themselves to be puppets of a totalitarian regime which is widely believed to starve its population into submission.
The flip side is that these musicians are–in a small way–bringing the message of the Gospel through music to a place where it is needed most.
Whatever your view, the bands will return with a Christian perspective of a country few in the West will ever have, and that in and of itself is meaningful.