Sunday, December 18, 2016

New Life & The Messiah

When I was newly a Christian, there were fascinating and surprising ways by which the Spirit made Himself obvious to me, and how united we were in this new life. 

Growing up, I heard Handel’s Messiah blasting from my family’s living room stereo many times.  (My father thought that anything worth listening to was worth playing loudly and on a good system.  I agree.)  My opinion of Handel’s work then was that it was old, but probably talented and fairly timeless if you liked that kind of thing. 

Some six months after being born again many years later, I decided to do an adult thing and take a date to the Pasadena Playhouse production of—you guessed it—Handel’s Messiah.  I bought tickets and wore a tie.  Anyway, without anybody telling me what it was all about, I was drawn by the lyrics from the get go.  And then this thing happened, the “Hallelujah Chorus.”  The thousands of people in the auditorium utterly disappeared to me, and I jumped to my feet, thrusting my hands skyward…or heavenward, if you like.  I was gone…in another place…in another land…and I was alive in a way I had never known.  Tears poured, and I erupted into a personal chorus, a shouted declaration of “Hallelujah!” over and over again.  I was undone, lost to those around me, and didn’t care.  Actually, and looking back, I was not lost but found amongst the heavenly choir, of whom I am now part, having been moved into heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).  That was one of the first times I knew that heaven had already become my home.  I fit!  And I knew it.

From that evening to this morning when I played this video, I am profoundly moved in my thinking by Handel’s Messiah from this passing away world where I am a stranger, to the world where I was welcomed and now belong as a son of God—a member of the choir.  “Praise God!”  Or, in this Hebrew rendition, “Hallelujah!”

Revelation 19:5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!” 6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:  “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.”


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