My spouse and I love choral music. In nearly 40 years together, we’ve sung in many choirs. Among our favourite choral works is Handel’s Messiah. If you’re familiar with the whole oratorio, you’ll know that the words are a statement of faith by the librettist (Charles Jennens). Its entire text is taken from scripture. Hearing one of these texts read from the pulpit, we’ll turn to each other and smile because we’re both singing that chorus in our heads.
The summation of today’s reading is found in the well-known “Hallelujah Chorus”-triumphal stuff! But what about the verses that precede verse 15 in this part of Revelation? Such difficult apocalyptic language!
Sometimes, we hear or read the news of the day and are quick to conclude that we are in the midst of the prophesied tribulation. We cry out, “How long, O Lord, must your people suffer?” The truth is that Messiah has conquered everything that we fear.
Originally, Handel’s Messiah was intended to be performed at Easter, the feast that celebrates the whole of the Christian faith. As we embark on the journey of Advent, let us remember that God’s plan is already fulfilled in Christ.
God of all, guide us in your truth, revealed to us in your Word. Amen. — DAK