Glory

2020 Advent Devotional – Day 11

Glory

And the Glory of the Lord (Messiah)
Words by Charles Jennens; music by George Frideric Handel, 1741

“And the glory, the glory of the Lord
Shall be revealed”

Video: And the Glory of the Lord (Messiah)


Reflection

This magnificent – vigorous, demanding, uplifting – excerpt from Handel’s Messiah is pure worship. From the underlying piano, gracefully supporting the choir, to the challenging range asked of the singers, stretching our human endeavour in service of God. From the soaring high notes of the sopranos, reaching right up to the heavens, to the grounding solidity of the basses. This is indeed worship; palpable, breath-taking worship

In terms of its word length, this is the shortest carol we encounter this Advent; just four lines. And yet the repetition of the lyrics, layering over each other, weaving together, creates a crescendo of praise, emphasising the majesty of the divine. The composition captures the essence of what it means to glorify God, even as it is offered as a tribute to God.

Listen to the piece more than once and different words take on added emphasis, emerging from the blend of music and lyrics to resonate and plant themselves in our hearts and minds. ‘Glory’ often dominates, as you might expect; its repetition an affirmation of the praise being offered in song. ‘Flesh’ reverberates along with ‘together’; expressing the divine union of God made man, joined with humankind, worshipping the gift of Christ.

At some points, the notes reach such heights that the words themselves are almost lost in the musical complexity; overwhelmed by the power of the composition. Worship at its purest, when the words fade, and we are immersed into the majesty and glory of the piece.

One lyric stands out as it evades the weaving of the rest of the piece to stand alone. “For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” As the praise reaches its conclusion, the contrasting and diverse voices rejoin to form one emphatic statement, affirming God’s word. A truth spoken, unambiguous and enduring. Here is the glory of God, given to the world, Jesus the Christ.


Magnificent God,
Your love for me defies mere words and escapes the limitations of my human comprehension. My worship strains to reach the heights of your eternal grace. Help me see beyond myself and my self-interest to sense the awe and majesty of the gift of your Son. Kindle in my heart the radiant warmth of your care for me, and raise my prayers to join in a crescendo of praise, proclaiming your almighty power. Amen.


Reading

And the Glory of the Lord (Messiah)

And the glory, the glory of the Lord
Shall be re-veal-ed
And all flesh shall see it together
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.


If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.


 

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