December 16, 2021
From Pastor Joey
Singing Hallelujah When You Get Discouraged
What do you do when you’ve gone from the heights of success to the depths of bankruptcy and depression? George Frederick Handel went from world fame and glory to being thought of as a has-been, old fogey. In his later life, project after project failed, and a case of palsy crippled some of his fingers.
Robert T. Morgan in his book, Then Sings My Soul, reports that “his troubles matured him, softening his sharp tongue. His temper mellowed, and his music became more heartfelt.” Then came a manuscript from Charles Jennens, a libretto based on various biblical texts.
Beginning August 22, 1741, Handel composed Messiah in twenty-three days.
“Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not,” Handel said later trying to describe the experience. At the opening in London on March 23, 1743, King George leapt to his feet during the Hallelujah Chorus starting a tradition that has lasted to this day.
A recitative early in the Messiah begins with this passage from Isaiah 40.
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem
And cry unto her
That her warfare is accomplished
That her iniquity is pardoned
The voice of him
That crieth in the wilderness
Prepare ye the way of the Lord
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Pauline Olsen, our organist and musician extraordinaire, tells me that this declamation is setting the stage for the rest of the oratorio. And, so it is with Advent. The season starts with the knowledge that the world was groaning in travail, waiting for one to come to set all things right. God’s promise to bring comfort to the people is fulfilled in Jesus, Emmanuel. The time draws nearer and nearer when we can proclaim once again. “He is here! It’s a boy!”
Thanks be to God. May you know the comfort that comes from our Lord and Savior. Blessed Christmas to us all.
Prayer Concerns that we have:
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
- For peace in our country.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.