Monday, December 19, 2011

Handel's masterful "text painting" of 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

George Handel was one of the great "text painters" of all time. He masterfully crafted music to match the message of a given text. Several great examples of his text painting occur in Messiah as he sets Scripture to music.

My favorite might be the second song in the final part of Messiah, where we are reminded of the reality and grief of physical death. It's called "Since by man came death". There is a very dark, somber, first phrase sung to communicate the despair of our inevitable date with physical death because of Adam's sin and our inheritance of his curse. Then, in sharp contrast, there is a bright, victorious declaration of the final resurrection that will occur for all those in Christ.

Here are the words, listen to the song as you read (the first part is very soft, so listen carefully):

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Losing my father six months ago continues to sting. The thought of a loved one dying-even one who was a Christian and now with Christ- brings continued sadness. This song really captures how I feel (dare I say!). It is somber and depressing when declaring the reality of death because of sin. Death is because of sin, it's an aberration. The thought of my father's death will always bring a sense of pain. However, the truth of Scripture witnessing to the fact of Christ's resurrection means this pain will not last forever. It will not even last long (relatively). There will be a final resurrection for all. Those who are "in Christ" will be joyously and gloriously reunited with each other to bring praise to God.

This short song captures the truth of Scripture and has served to comfort me.


cara erickson-park said...

This was definitely a highlight of the sermon, and one of the most moving parts of the series (and obviously of the composition).

carol said...

Hello Tony,

Carol L. here...I say Amen to the sorrow AND to the comparative brevity of it when looked at from His perspective. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss!

Woody Woodward said...

The wonder and splendor of such an anointed picture of the Word made manifest in the glorious gift of song. I was especially moved when you told the story of Handel’s exhausting completion of his 24 day journey before God’s Mighty Throne. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if some producer would be embolden to put the complete life story of Handel on the big screen and do so without Hollywood embellishments.
On a side note, every time I go to ISI or to the church offices, my heart reaches out towards the west. As I pass by my dear friends temporary resting place I think of his laughter and his spontaneous gift of story telling. We all miss him so much.

M J Mounts said...

Tony -
We are thoroughly enjoying your Messiah sermons...... from afar. Your comments about your Dad causes Kris and me to reflect on the lives of our Dads, too. The three of them are in Heaven today rejoicing at the future Second Coming of our Savior, when we will all be re-united for eternity. PTL.

P.S. Temp in SW Florida today - 83 degrees! And NO snow.