For Ever, And Ever, And Ever, And Ever...
This Sunday at my church we will begin our celebration of the season of Advent as we begin counting down the days until Christmas Eve--when we both remember and experience anew the coming of the Messiah.
Undoubtedly, at some point during this blessed season, you might hear the familiar strains of portions of Handel's Messiah, which often gets sung this time of year.
Many years ago, I was serving a very small congregation where we had a traditional worship service led by a chancel choir that struggled at times to find the right pieces of music to complement their particular talents. That last line was charitable, just so you know.
One day, one of the choir members was volunteering in the church office and she was playing a recording of the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah when a fellow choir member walked in. "Is that us?" she asked brightly, thinking that the recording was of one of their choir performances.
The friend listening to the recording leaned her head back and laughed, "Are you kidding me? That's a recording of a choir that can actually sing!"
I read recently that when Handel was writing The Messiah in the mid 18th century he was struggling with extreme depression. But at one point, when he was writing the "Hallelujah Chorus" he had a breakthrough.
A servant found Handel in tears after he had finished writing perhaps the most famous part of this seminal work whispering: "I thought I saw all heaven before me, and the great God himself!"
I would like to think that the portion of the chorus that brought him to that great realization was when he put these words from the book of Revelation to music:
\The kingdom of this worldIs become the kingdom of our Lord,And of His Christ, and of His Christ;And He shall reign for ever and ever,For ever and ever, forever and ever...As we approach this season of Advent, my prayer for each of you is that you have moments when you will catch glimpses of heaven, glimmers of God's glory and that you will lean into this season of expectation with joy and hope.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.