We were given complimentary tickets to Handel’s Messiah, performed in the Belfast Waterfront by the Ulster Orchestra and the Belfast Philharmonic. We were joined by two friends who arranged supper and a lift to the theatre.
In the Program Notes it says that Handel’s first performance of Messiah was in Dublin rather than in London. The Messiah was written around the 1740 s during the period of Enlightenment and scientific questioning, and the of message of Jesus Christ was unpopular. There is nothing new under the sun.
In our secular, humanistic society there is not much mention of God. Santa Claus is glorified at Christmas time rather than Our Father in heaven who sent his son Jesus on earth to redeem mankind. The gospel is not popular where man is in control.
People would be entertained at the theatre or opera houses in Handel’s day. The equivalent media today is television. Not everyone liked the idea of the gospel message being played in the opera house.
The words of Handel’s Messiah are all biblical texts proclaiming Jesus birth, death and ressurection, written by Charles Jennens. There was opposition to his work and the word Messiah was omitted for its first performance in London. However I believe this work was inspired by God.
I particularly liked the Chorus. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.”
It is because I believe in the truth of these words that I am healed from fourth stage cancer. Jesus was wounded so I can be healed.
When Handel’s Messiah was performed in the nations down through the centuries people have heard the words of the gospel. The message of Jesus’ promise of forgiveness, healing, restoration and victory through his death on the cross has been sung in the great theatres of the world. Who knows how God works. He sends his word throughout the earth. It will not return void.
Give thanks to The Lord, call upon his name. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. 1 Chron 16 v 8
When one speaks the truth of the word of God, Satan flees and people’s ears are opened. Words are creative. We are not limited to speak about God in churches. Different songs are written and played through the media for people to hear. One simple example comes to mind. “Go tell it on the mountain.” In the movie Sister Act there is a song the nuns sing called “I will follow him.” Gods word says “Open your mouth and I will fill it.” Johnny Cash went into prisons and sung the gospel message to the prisoners.
It was very powerful moment last night when the Ulster Orchestra played the Alleluia Chorus. The drums beat and the trumpeters blasted. The 160 strong choir stood up followed by the audience of two thousand people and sang out to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The angels would have joined us.
“Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders.
And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea.
They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb. (Revelation 5:11-14 NLT)
Satan does not want the words of the Gospel proclaimed. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus responded by saying it is written and quoted the scriptures. When we speak in line with the scriptures we defeat Satan and God moves according to our words. Mary said to the angel “Be it done unto me according to your word.” She humbly accepted the words of the angel that she would become the mother of Jesus.
All creation gives Glory to God. It was good to sing out with two thousand other people to give Glory to God.