This approach to encountering God through music takes a similar approach to that of lectio divina: intentionally coming into the presence of the Holy One; listening for God’s voice in the music; allowing your soul to respond to the divine harmonies.
Select a short piece of music, perhaps 3-5 minutes in length. I suggest a few possibilities below, or you may want to choose one of your own. Avoid music with words or that have particular connotations (e.g. a film score); in this exercise you want God to speak through the beauty of the music itself – its melody and harmonies, its rhythms, its tone.
First still yourself and ask God to speak to you through the music.
- Listen to the music once through, then pause in silence.
- Now listen to it again – listen out for the rhythms, the melodies, the harmonies; see if any particular phrase speaks to you. What emotions does the music raise in you? Does it remind you of any events, or of any person? Does it suggest any aspect of God’s character?
- Now listen to it a third time, and as you do, imagine Jesus listening to the music with you. You may want to imagine Jesus in your room with you, or both of you in a concert hall listening to the music; you may want to imagine going for a walk with Jesus, with the music playing in the background. As you listen, allow yourself to respond to the music and to Jesus wherever he seems to be leading. Does he want to sit quietly with you, to walk gently, to dance or to sing? Follow his lead.
- Finally, sit quietly in silence, allowing the beauty and wonder of what you have encountered to stay with you.