How God Speaks Through Music
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
~ Victor Hugo
I have a friend named Todd Adams, who is a percussionist. He’s been hearing God speak through music for decades. Todd is part of a worship band but the kind of music the band plays is like nothing I’ve ever heard. They don’t play hymns or even what can be referred to as “songs” with lyrics. Elisabeth Cooper is the band’s leader. She plays keyboard and guitar. Her husband Daniel plays drums. Todd plays everything from wind chimes and flute to djembe and occasionally employs an aboriginal form of throat singing that’s impossible to describe. I had an opportunity to spend a weekend with the band at The Gathering a few years ago. (They will be back at The Gathering this July). Todd’s goal with his percussion is to hear the sounds that are coming from heaven and play them to the best of his ability. The rhythms he hears are seldom the same and they’re subject to change at any time. Sometimes what he hears can only be described as the heartbeat of God. He senses the beat and plays it on his drum. He senses other sounds in the heavens and adds them as they are heard. The sounds he hears coming from heaven are very diverse, which is why he sits in a cage lined with a vast array of odd instruments that he’s collected over the years. Each instrument emits a sound similar to one he hears coming from heaven.
Elisabeth also listens for the sounds she hears coming from heaven. Whatever melodies and rhythms she hears—she plays. She also hears the voice of the Holy Spirit and sings whatever she hears Him speaking. The messages she sings can be about almost anything. For this reason, there are no lyrics to help the audience sing along. But those who are able to sense the same sounds in the spirit often join in.
The weekend I was with the band, there happened to be many people in the audience who suffered from conditions such as dissociative identity disorder and bi-polar disorder. During the first session, the percussion seemed to create an atmosphere that attracted angels and I sensed an increasing angelic presence in the room throughout the evening. Elisabeth began making declarations about freedom from emotional bondage and about things from the past that were holding people back. I watched as about half the audience went to the floor and over the next 90 minutes, the Holy Spirit took many of my friends through a process of emotional healing.
Todd drives a public transit bus for those with physical handicaps. As a way to help fund his mission trips, he recorded a couple of CDs. One day he played a track from one of his CDs on his bus route and asked one of the riders to listen to it. Todd had originally composed it as a song of mourning for the death of a dear friend. The bus rider loved the music so much he bought the CD. Months later, he confessed that the medications he was taking didn’t relieve his chronic pain but when he played the track, it somehow eased his pain. Todd’s music became part of his regimen for pain management.
Here’s another way in which God speaks through music:
Millions of people over the last few centuries have heard of Johann Sebastian Bach. Yet in his day, Bach was virtually unknown outside of the German towns where he quietly lived and worked. Bach never sought fame or fortune. He was employed for most of his career by small churches and lived in relative obscurity. Bach said, “Music’s only purpose should be the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit.” Music, according to Bach, was given to glorify God and to edify us. You would have to look hard to find anyone who gave more joy to the world than Bach. More than 250 years after his death, Bach’s music still lifts the heart and energizes the soul.
Bach’s influence on cultures around the world has been impressive, particularly in Japan where less than one percent of the population are Christians. The beauty of Bach’s music and gospel-centered lyrics have created a spiritual awakening where Japanese citizens are exploring the person of Jesus. Christianity has never been widely embraced by the people of Japan. In the 18th century, European traders and missionaries came to the island and had mixed success; commerce did well, but the gospel was largely rejected. But Japan embraced the music of Western culture and in particular—the music of Bach. His popularity is so great today that classes at the Felix Mendelssohn Academy in Bach’s hometown of Leipzig, Germany are filled with Japanese students. These students are learning about more than just Bach’s music. They’re learning about the Spirit of God that moved him to write.
A Japanese Christian conductor named Masaaki Suzuki said:
“Bach works as a missionary among our people. After each concert, people crowd the podium wishing to talk to me about topics that are normally taboo in our society—death, for example. Then they inevitably ask me what ‘hope’ means to Christians. I believe that Bach has already converted tens of thousands of Japanese to the Christian faith. A Japanese musicologist named Keisuke traveled all the way to Bach’s home church in Germany to study the biblical basis for Bach’s cantatas. He ended up seeking out a pastor and asking, ‘It is not enough to read Christian texts. I want to be a Christian myself. Please baptize me.’ Another Japanese musician, a female organist and former Buddhist named Yoko, said, ‘Bach introduced me to God, Jesus, and Christianity. When I play a fugue, I can hear Bach talking to God.'”
This is an excerpt from my book Hearing God’s Voice Made Simple. Click on the link or the image below to learn more.
This was so interesting! Thx
What an inspiring and encouraging post! He was relatively unknown, but left quite a legacy. I wonder how many people have touched the lives of many more people after their lives than they did during their lives.
Where can we hear this music?
I have thought for many years on this very subject.
Elisabeth’s music can be found here: https://elisabethcooper.bandcamp.com/
Todd’s music can be found here: http://noisetrade.com/thehouseonlibertystreet/tenino-portal
I love sitting in worship when Elizabeth leads! Its always a blessing!
Without even reading past the first two paragraphs… I have been playing from heaven for many years! I know this is new for many and it is beginning to catch on! I appreciate those who are willing to move by the Spirit in music. My life, and many others have been transformed…
YouTube- Marv McAnear
One thing I love about the great composers is they most of them glorified God in some way. Up until the 20th century, a lot of composers were involved with the church, creating both sacred and secular works – it was a totally normal thing. This doesn’t really happen much anymore, but if modern composers do wish to compose something “religious,” it would still be well-received by even unbelieving audiences. This is because they are already acquainted with musical works associated with God and the supernatural. Which is good!
The problem with today’s modern secular music artists is that they understand their gift, but have no idea who gave it to them or where the sounds they’re making actually come from. They are, as David Van Koevering says, “fallen psalmists.” God sends these new styles and genres to the earth and then the enemy steals most of them, perverting them with his own message and branding. We see this through other art forms and spiritual practices.
What I don’t like about most “Christian” music is that it consists of a sound that only ministers to ourselves and doesn’t cry out to the world to come home. Not only that, but I think its quite stylistically dull. Don’t even get me started on Christian movies!
I admit, there are some amazing Christian artists out there, but when I think of most Christian music, I think of guitars, drums and a crowd of people singing along to four chords. And what’s worse is that if we do branch out and try new styles, all we end up with is cringey Hillsong hybrid versions of genres, instead of creating something new or innovative.
Thank you for sharing those new artists! Todd Adams sounds fun!