Friday, June 12, 2009

Forever and Ever!

A friend had a neat post this morning about music that pulls our heartstrings. There are some lovely pieces of music listed in the ensuing comments, and I'm guessing there will be more than one post that comes of it on my blog.

One of the pieces of music that has brought me to tears more times than I can count is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. I've always loved it, but it gained a whole new significance to me in the early 1990's.

I was blessed to attend, with a group of family and friends, one of the performances in the New Young Messiah tour in 1993. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening, but the portion of the performance that had a profound affect on me was the Hallelujah Chorus. It was, in keeping with the treatment of Handel's great work, a more modern rendition, and even included some ballet dancers.

As I stood and raised my voice in praise with the thousands around me, I was brought to tears as I thought of an eternity of praising our Savior with saints through the ages. I wonder if perhaps we'll praise Him in every style of music that has been used throughout human history. I am certain that there will be no judgment of this style or that style of music or praise, because, at last, our focus will be where it truly should be - on our precious Lord!

The experience brought to mind some of the passages that talk about the praise due our Lord:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
(Isaiah 6:1-3)

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
(Revelation 4:8-11)

And one of my favorite passages, Revelation 5. The portion in italics, we love to sing; the portion in bold is part of the text on which the prelude to the Hallelujah Chorus is based:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?"
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:1-14)

I'm not making any statements on my view of the "end times" here. I just believe that once it's all over and done, we are going to have some fabulous praise and worship together! And I think that it's going to happen in a great many musical genres.

So, here's a traditional version of the Hallelujah Chorus:

And a more modern version:

The reprise that followed the second version:

Looking forward to Forever and Ever!


Merri said...

Thanks for posting this, Laurel. My oldest, Helen, *loves* the Hallelujah Chorus so when I saw your post this morning, I pulled up the youtube videos and let her watch then while I got breakfast ready. She and her little brothers really enjoyed them! I think it was on the 4th time through all the videos that she got out a wand and began to direct the choirs. It was a fun morning!

Wayne and Genene said...

thanks for sharing those with us. I really was blessed.