I recently had a powerful experience with God. It was the kind that buckled me over in tears. I’ve been wondering why? What was it about that moment that was different. The only difference, that day, was music. The experience occurred after listening to music. Why?
I come from a long background (and culture) of skepticism, questioning everything, relying heavily on reason and intellect. But the breakthrough that day was so undeniable and much more pronounced than other breakthroughs. So what happened?
As I’ve reflected on this, two passages come to mind. The first is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt 22). What I love about this passage is how Jesus adds “the mind” – the intellect. He wants us engaged, using our whole brain to engage with God.
Okay…so how do we use our whole brain to engage with God?
It’s not, as some have suggested, a personal or gooey feeling of, “Oh, I love God so much.” This is okay, of course. Rather, it’s worship – and a very good way of worshiping God is through music – through singing and participation. But how does this make sense with the intellect?
I stumbled across the video below which seemed to answer my own questions so I encourage you to watch it. It essentially shows us how music exercises our brains to significantly greater capacity. In light of this, the second verse that comes to mind is from Psalm 33:
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
I think that we find a plethora of these types of verses in scripture because they help us with the first and greatest commandment.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson