Hallelujah!

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
Revelation 17:14

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.’” Revelation 19:6

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

 

I admit, there have been times when singing or playing the Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus has been less than exciting for me. Oh, I know it’s a tremendous musical work and contains wonderful profound truths. But for me as a musician, it can be one of those pieces we might consider overplayed or cliché. After all, the Hallelujah Chorus is played or sung at weddings and funerals all over the world, and sung frequently by most every choir. Even the words of the Hallelujah Chorus are repetitive – the alto line alone sings a four-note motive “Hal-le-lu-jah” 36 times!

 

But if I open my heart to beauty of these words, how could hearing all those Hallelujahs be anything less than meaningful worship? For our Lord God Almighty reigns… It’s easy for me to imagine angels surrounding Jesus in heaven singing it with such joy, Hallelujah! Praise God, the King of Kings, for he reigns forever and ever.

 

Our sin makes it so easy to let these wonderful words of these passages and the Hallelujah Chorus become commonplace and redundant, meaningless at times. We hear these truths so often – in sermons at church, worship songs on the radio and in discussions with family and friends. May we always be open to the Lord, so his song will fill our hearts and our response can be nothing short of Hallelujah…over and over again.
~Bethany Hilt

 

 

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Forever and Ever

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
“Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns. “
Revelation 19:6

There were great voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord,
and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15

We hear various portions of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah all year round, usually in a non-religious context, like a commercial or cartoon, using this beautiful work to celebrate something other than the everlasting kingdom of the Lord.  Handel would be shocked at how mundane the word “Hallelujah” has become largely because of the popularity of his work.  It has become the staple of flash mob venues at Christmas, in food courts, train stations and malls, simply because it is so well known.

But it is not at all well understood.  This is far from a paean to Christmas, and is not meant to represent the “heavenly host” praising Jesus’ birth.  It actually is a celebration of the Messiah conquering death itself.  This is a battle cry about the defeat of evil, not at all a lullaby to a new born baby.

And so it should be the rallying cry for the faithful.  It should be sung from the rafters of department stores and gymnasiums and the greatest cathedrals.  It is a marvelous song to sing at full tilt,  each part intersecting and playing with the voices of the other parts.  It cannot be sung without a smile, a shiver down the spine and quickening of the pulse.   Even if the tradition of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus was started because King George II needed to stand up to stretch his legs after the lengthy first two sections of the libretto, it is worthy ever after of our standing attention.

So too should we attend to the story of Handel’s creation of his Messiah in a mere 24 days.  He was depressed, destitute and desperate for the work.  When he finished writing “Hallelujah Chorus”, his assistant, who had tried shouting to rouse Handel from the room where he had sequestered himself, walked in to find Handel in tears.  When asked what was the matter, Handel held up the score to “Hallelujah” and said “I thought I saw the face of God.”

When we hear these words, read them and sing them, so do we.

Forever and ever.