Handel’s Messiah in the Liturgy

How Handel wrote 'Messiah' is topic of Evening Talk; Star Party to follow |  Penn State University

As I read, and later heard the reading of the Old Testament in the Mass this morning, it seemed as if I were listening to a selection from Handel’s Messiah. George Frideric Handel composed the music for Messiah and the text compiled by Charles Jennens comes from the King James Version of the Bible.

So we read in Malachi 3:1-4 is what can be heard in the sixth section: “But who may abide the day of his coming?”

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

I love Handel’s Messiah! It is my goal to listen to the complete work at least once during the Advent/Christmas season. I also love how the music plays in my head when I hear the related Scripture read in the Liturgy. What a powerful presentation of the story of God’s plan of redemption!

My friend Jon Tyson once stated that he believed that certain works of art and music will be enjoyed in heaven throughout eternity. He felt Handel’s Messiah would be on that list. I agree.

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