Here we are on day 7 of Advent and I cannot help but think of high school choir. Mrs. Weatherly stretched our 70s-pop-radio-station minds and voices when she pulled out the rugged old copies of Handel’s Messiah (1741) and taught us several numbers. At first it seemed nearly like a foreign language, but over the course of rehearsals, we came to love it, our delivery getting better, more crisp and mature. The thrill of it was getting to perform at midnight mass on Christmas Eve at the big Catholic church in town – way outside “my” church walls.
This was December 2011…how quickly they grow…
I’ve only attended a couple of full-fledged performances of traditional Messiah performances and have never managed to get to see Young Messiah (yes, they found a way to make it pop), but each time was a musical thrill and how happy I am when I can hear and quietly sing along on complicated parts (alto and second soprano) I can still remember from high school.
First the more traditional version with a full symphony if you’re up for a beautiful musical adventure. If not, I have included a second version from the The New Young Messiah (what? “young” wasn’t good enough already?!), a more contemporary rendition. It doesn’t matter how you listen, it IS the good news and a promise from God that our sins were being forgiven! Oh, yes!
Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her
iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:1-3)
I love that the God of the universe, the just and True God, the God of Righteousness and holiness still looks at us in our mess of living and says these words which have marked this year for me,
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins. Is 40.1-2 niv