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May 21, 2007

Hearing the Cross in Bach and finding Christ the Truth

Yesterday I heard a Persian (from Iran) Christian share his journey from practicing Muslim, to relativist, to Christian. He said that as a Muslim, he had believed in God, loved him, desired to follow him, but found him very distant. So he turned to relativism and New Age beliefs, but lost the sense of the absolute, which he had found in the God of Islam.

An accomplished musician, he was particularly drawn to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and through Bach, regained a sense of the absolute. One day, as he finished playing a Bach piece for his teacher, he was told that his performance had been terrible, even though it was technically perfect. His teacher, not a Christian, said, "You cannot play Bach without keeping the Cross in mind," and that only when he could hear the cross in the piece would he play it as Bach intended.

So the former Muslim, relativistic, unbeliever, at the instruction of his non-Christian teacher, drew a big red cross at the top of his sheet music, and focused on that Cross as he played Bach until he could hear the Cross in the music. To make a long story short, by focusing on the Cross, and hearing the Cross through the music of Bach, he came to know the Christ of the Cross, and today is a leader in his local church.

While Roberto or T.M. or others more schooled in musicology and theology than I can elaborate further, I find this to be a remarkable demonstration of how God has placed the knowledge of truth in hearts and minds, the power of the Cross to speak without words, and the ability of music to express truth, goodness, beauty or lead people to seek the Truth.

Interestingly, while Bach was a Christian and created music for the glory of God, I've also had more than one person tell me that they've come to faith in Christ thanks to the early music of -- Bob Dylan. Not the stuff he wrote after declaring he'd become a Christian, but the music from his early days, because, they said, he was seeking truth, and that search for truth ultimately led them to Christ, who is the Truth.

Have you ever had experiences where music has spoken to you in unexpected ways? Have you seen God in music?

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