I love the Messiah. Yes, that Messiah but I’m talking specifically right now about the music. You know, the Messiah by George Frideric Handel. Most Christmas musicals end with the almost obligatory Hallelujah Chorus. I love it. Great music. Inspiring.
But there are two other segments of the Messiah that speak to me more than that iconic chorus. The first is ‘All we like sheep have gone astray’.
The great thing about Handel’s music is that the music itself tells a story. You get a mental picture. I see little lambs bouncing through a field of wildflowers. Bouncing, dancing happily through a field, thoughtless, irresponsible, doing what feels good, not caring about the consequences. The music is light, fun, happy. Until the end. The end turns suddenly funereal, sad, depressing. ‘And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’
Think of that Friday night. Mary and the disciples take the lifeless body of their friend, their Rabbi, their Messiah down from the cross. How empty and alone they must have felt.
But here’s the thing. There is no Sunday morning without a Friday night. There is no Hallelujah without a cross. There is no salvation without repentance. There is no redemption without the pain of our failure. We must go through Friday night to get to Sunday morning.
This is how much God loves us. ‘The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’