Handel-ing the Messiah
My friend Dr. Don Meyer, the president of Valley Forge
Christian College, has written a delightful little book called
"Think About It." It is a compilation of newspaper columns
Don has written for area publications.
One selection concerns George Frideric Handel, the great
composer. In the early 1700s, Handel's popularity had
begun to wane and creditors were knocking. His health was
marred by depression, insomnia, and rheumatism. In his
late 50s, he faced a bleak future.
Then, in 1741, Handel received a letter from a wealthy
landowner, Charles Jennens, who had written some lyrics
for him in the past. In this letter, Jennens sent a compilation
of scriptures which focused on the Christ of God. Handel
felt deeply moved in his spirit and began to write.
Within seven days he had completed part one of "Messiah,"
which concerned Jesus' birth. He wrote the redemption
part in another nine days and then, in less than one week,
Handel completed the resurrection and future reign of
Christ portion including the "Hallelujah Chorus."
On April 13, 1742, "Messiah" made its debut in Dublin to a
rousing reception. Handel lived another 17 years and led
many more performances of his masterpiece.
Why do we stand today when this great work is presented?
When King George II of England first heard "Messiah," he
stood. Since no one remains seated when a king stands,
the audience also stood. The majestic "Hallelujah Chorus"
was performed in our church this week and we all stood
and applauded! And were blessed.
Just think -- Handel might never have written "Messiah" had
Jennens not sent him that letter.
Used with permission by author, Dan Betzer. Previously published on ByLine OnLine, copyright © 2005 Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God.
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