Saturday, December 4, 2010

Words to Live By

"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God"

George Frideric Handel wrote the oratorio "Messiah".

"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain."

In 1741, Handel was deeply in debt, his health was failing and he seemed certain to land in debtor's prison.

"And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

Charles Jennens, gave Handel a libretto based on the life of Christ, to set to music.

"Thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come." The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple; even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, behold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts."

Handel began composing on August 22, 1741. He grew so absorbed, he rarely left his room, hardly stopping to eat.

"And He shall purify the sons of Levi that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness"

The structure of the text follows a chronological portrayal of the biblical story of the Messiah.

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel."

The work is in three parts. Part I contains the broad themes of Messiah's coming foretold.

""O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold you God!"

His birth, life, and ministry.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Part II features Messiah's passion and resurrection, Pentecost, and the birth of the Church.

"Behold the Lamb of God, tha taketh away the sin of the world."

This section ends with the celebratory "Hallelujah Chorus" proclaiming Messiah's ultimate victory.

"Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

Part III is the believer's personalized response, expressing the hope of those redeemed by the Messiah.

" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."

This section ends in a hymn of praise to the eternal, reigning Messiah.

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hath redeemed us to God by His Blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

Last evening we attended a presentation of Messiah at my son's college. It was an outstanding performance by some very talented students. But the thing that continues to strike me every single year is, although many believe that Handel's work is not inspired, I continue to see how his music has been played through the years in honor of the Son of God. When I listen to the classical music stations (which in our area is housed by a liberal university) I am praising God for HIS Words that are filtering through their airwaves.


Please join me at Spiritual Sundays.


Joan Hall said...

Oh, I know it was beautiful. Thank you for sharing the story behind the composition.


Nikki (Sarah) said...

I never heard THe Messiah but this story behind it is interesting. Have a great weekend.

Allie said...

I don't think I've ever heard the whole thing - but I do love it!

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Thank you for sharing. Yes, His word will always filter through the airways.

Susy said...

Just in case you haven't seen it, google Opera Company of Philadelphia. They, along with 600 others, surprised shoppers at Macys with the Halleluja Chorus. Christmas blessings.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Thank-you for sharing this information about Handel,it's interesting to me.

Anonymous said...

Personally I believe this song was inspired by God. We sang this song in church this morning. It was beautiful. Reading this information you shared made it even more meaningful.

Donnie said...

That was so interesting. It is such a beautiful song. Have a blessed week.