"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
In 1741, a minor poet, Charles Jenners, wrote a libretto entitled "A Sacred Oratorio." The collection of biblical excerpts was sent to George Frederick Handel, with the reminder that "the Lord gave the Word." The package came at a time when Handel was going through a severe depression. He had been rebuffed by England's nobility, business misfortunes had left him deeply in debt, and at fifty-seven years of age, tired of working, he had retreated into seclusion.
As the listless Handel leafed through the manuscript, his eyes fell upon the words: "He was despised and rejected of men... He looked for someone to have pity on Him, but there was no man; neither found He any to comfort Him." With a growing feeling of identity, Handel read on: "He trusted in God... God did not leave His soul in hell... He will give you rest." The words began to throb within his breast. "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace... I know that my Redeemer liveth... Rejoice... Hallelujah!"
Feeling the triumph of heavenly song, Handel grabbed a pen and started writing. Music for the words began to flow through his mind with such swiftness that he could scarcely write the notes fast enough.
For twenty-four days, the composer remained in his room on Hanover Street in London. His manservant would bring him food, but often it was left untouched. Sometimes he would take a piece of bread, start to eat, then let it drop from his hand, as some new inspiration called forth expression.
His servant watched in astonishment as his master's tears dropped on the page and mingled with the ink. At times he would jump up and run to the harpsichord, waving his arms in the air, singing aloud, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
Later Handel confided, "I think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God Himself!"
It should not be surprising that the composition and rendition of The Messiah should lift people to nobler thoughts and actions. There is something elevating about the praise of God. When we magnify His name and celebrate His glory, our own souls take in greatness, for God inhabits the praises of His people!
Around the throne of God the celestial choirs sing and say praise to God, day and night. They do so at this very moment- They are singing and shouting PRAISE to Almighty God and to the LAMB! Should we not join them? [The above paragraphs are edited from SONGS OF HEAVEN, by Robert E. Coleman, pages 137-139]
Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven; To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.
Praise Him for His grace and favor To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever, Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Glorious in His faithfulness.
Fatherlike He tends and spares us; Well our feeble frame He knows. In His hands He gently bears us, Rescues us from all our foes. Alleluia! Alleluia! Widely yet His mercy flows.
Frail as summer's flower we flourish, Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah Praise the High Eternal One!
Angels, help us to adore Him; Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him, Dwellers all in time and space. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace.
I pray your day and week will be blessed and filled with His goodness ~ and that all your problems me only minor glitches ~ and can be overcome with prayer.
Thank God for this Free Country ~ and our ability to pray freely ~ to speak freely ~ and to come together in spirit. Praise Him, Praise Him.
**Please note: the above photo is from my own collection and one that I took on the day I was photographer for a friend's wedding. Please do not copy it without my sole permission. Thanks.