One must be dead not to be moved

Those who have sung Messiah know that the experience leaves us all breathless. But the same is true of those who attend a performance of Messiah. Like Ezekiel’s opening vision, by which the God of glory broke into the mundane world of this prophet on alien soil, leaving him stunned (Ezek. 1:24), so in our time, many have experienced a similar emotion after Handel’s aural presentation of the glory of the Lord… In Handel’s Messiah all, regardless of their spiritual condition, are invited to a spiritual experience, for one really must be dead not to be moved by this piece…

For the true people of God, those who have experienced the redemption offered by the sacrificial death of the Lamb, this oratorio should always be a doxology of praise, and for the rest, those still aligned with the kingdom of this world and the realm of darkness, this oratorio presents a challenge. Eventually every knee will bow prostrate before the Lamb. The question is, will we do so submissively in this life, as an act of voluntary homage, or by constraint in the life to come.

From an excellent article by Daniel Block, Handel’s “Messiah”. You can download and read what he writes about the biblical text and construction of this great oratorio.

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