What a joy we have in store this Sunday morning, as the Chancel Choir presents Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah! William R. Shoppell, Jr. is the choral conductor and Sara B. Hoey is the organist. A professional string quartet will provide further accompaniment.
Beloved as a staple of sacred Christmas music, Messiah was not actually composed for that holiday. In its complete form, this sacred oratorio tells the story of Jesus’ birth, passion and resurrection. Its most famous segment, the Hallelujah Chorus, in fact belongs to Part 2, the Easter section. That chorus presents the words of Revelation 21:15, which celebrate the exaltation of the ascended Christ as Lord of all:
The kingdom of this world is become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ;
and he shall reign for ever and ever.
That won’t stop us, though, from enjoying the Hallelujah Chorus along with Part 1 this Sunday!
If you’d like to take a look at the Bible passages the Choir will be singing, you can find a listing of them here.
There’s an old tradition of congregations (as well as audiences in secular concert halls) standing as the Hallelujah Chorus is sung. The most common explanation is that this practice began with England’s King George II, who was so overcome by the power of the music that he stood up in admiration – and when the king stands, everybody stands. While there are reasons to doubt the historical truth of this account, it’s still a wonderful way of praising God, who sent Jesus into the world that we might be saved. So, we continue to follow that tradition, however it got started.
Come join us this Sunday, for an experience not only of a classic piece of sacred music, but also of the worship of God!
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 mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.