Yeah ok I know, and it is about as whacky as it sounds! I mean how on earth does one have a sound portrait done?! Well for a start it’s a lot quicker, and I would wager a lot more powerful, than a painted portrait.
So, a few weeks ago I was delighted to be able to go along and find out what a ‘Sound Portrait’ was for myself. I’d heard about them previously as a couple of my friends play in the Christian worship group ‘Epiphany’ who do them. They are a group of incredibly gifted musicians who play a range of instruments, and sound portraits are just one part of what they do, but they have played them at places as diverse as The Ideal Home Exhibition and the National Portrait Gallery!
So, I went along not really knowing what to expect, sat in a lovely comfy lounge at the home of a friend, whilst 5 or 6 musicians just played over me. As I understand it they literally play what they feel God is saying, so it is a portrait of how God sees you, just in music rather then in picture. Nothing planned, no score to follow, they just play. And I can’t tell you how powerful it was. It wasn’t odd or strange or uncomfortable, although I know people feel a range of emotions and feelings when they are played over. For me they began with something quite busy and I instantly knew God was speaking! In fact I thought it quite funny really. But then, well then it calmed down and the music developed into the most beautiful melody I could imagine. I’ve put a clip of it above and it might not sound so amazing to you listening but I guess it’s my portrait and to me it was just perfect! As I listened I had my eyes shut and I was so amazed at the feelings and sensations I felt. From wondering how on earth they could produce something like this, to being overcome with emotion, to thinking wow, is this how God sees me? and then I felt him speaking…
It’s incredibly hard to describe what it feels like, the musicians move around you and are quite close so it’s very personal, and the only phrase I could think of is that it felt like the music was flowing through my soul. I imagine that sounds a bit ‘super-spiritual’ but it’s really the only way I can describe it!
As they played I felt all kinds of things but one thing that was the most powerful was it was like God was calling my destiny out of me as they played. Again I know that may sound odd, but it was a feeling, a beckoning, an encouraging, as I listened, I just knew what God was saying, it was prophetic in a way, a moment of stepping into what he has for me. I don’t even know what that was, there wasn’t something specific, just a knowing and a calling. I once had an experience of hearing God sing my name and it felt a bit like that. Funny as I was just writing about names a few days ago, but there is something powerful in that, in the hearing of one’s name. Like when you are talking to someone and they actually use your name in conversation, it kind of stands out, like an emphasis on you, they are talking to you and focussed on you, it’s not just a random chat. I don’t know if this makes sense as I said it’s so hard to describe! But I want to try and give an essence of what it means or how it feels, although I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Anyway if you ever get the chance to have one – do it!
It was interesting also hearing them play for two of my children, one of them in particular has a love of jazz and blues and the first thing they played was that! and as I listened and heard what they said afterwards (as they share anything they feel God saying) I was amazed at how they had him spot on!
God of course speaks in many ways so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he can work in this way through a bunch of faithful people who has gifted in music, but it really did take me my surprise. Anyway if you ever get the chance to have one – do it!