Hallelujah

hallelujah-music

Easter is my favorite day of the year. For me, it is better than Christmas…as it should be.

Yesterday, my church closed out the glorious Easter service with Handel’s Hallelujah chorus from his fantastic oratorio “Messiah”. What is interesting about this musical piece is Handel’s unrelenting fervor in composing this masterpiece. Handel was nearly broke, old, a stroke survivor and out of favor with the musical community. This did not discourage him. Handel assembled something wonderful which became a classic that lives on in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It is quite simple magnificent.

It is said that after Handel completed the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”. (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/bibleandculture/author/bwitherington/) Handel’s wild hair flying about his face and the tears in his eyes were the foreshadowing of a song that would make even King’s stand in awe.

That’s Easter. It’s beyond our ability to put into words really. It’s so outrageous and so divine that to reduce down to mere words is almost impossible.

Music lifts the soul and is a promised part of heaven. Something tells me that the Hallelujah chorus is just the beginning.

He is Risen.

He is Risen Indeed…Hallelujah.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: Revelation 14:2,3

Glory Bound – Lent 7

Lent Letterpress

My Southern Baptist roots often come back to haunt me and I welcome their grasp of my wayward soul.

While a devout Anglican, my faith runs deep through years worshipping at a Baptist Church where attendance was mandatory if the doors were open. I loved it. I loved everything about it. Sermons, fellowship, worship, prayer, but most of all, hymns. The hymns of faith are simply things of beauty and wonder.

For me, music is a quick route to my soul. Music resonates deep within me. Music must be important to God who exhorts us to make a joyful noise and promises a heaven beyond our wildest dreams. Revelation 14:2 tells us: “And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.”

Music, sweet music will be a part of my heaven.

My father and I loved “fifth Sunday sings”. This is a Sunday where the church sings the old, old stories and hymns that have been passed down for generations for the entire music-filled service. I never missed a chance to attend these special church events.

Even now, as I drift off to sleep, I hear the sound of a train whistle in the distance and I find myself singing “This Train is Bound for Glory” before I kiss the night goodbye. A train whistle in the dark reminds me that my life has purpose and through the grace of God I will someday lay my burden down and board that train.

I will then make a joyful song for all eternity. An eternal fifth Sunday sing. Hallelujah!

“Glory Bound”

When I hear that trumpet sound
I will lay my burdens down
I will lay them deep into the ground
Then I’ll know that I am glory bound

I’ll be travelling far from home
But I won’t be looking for to roam
I’ll be crossing o’er the great divide
In a better home soon I will reside

Hallelujah

When I’m in my resting place
I’ll look on my mother’s face
Never more will I have to know
All the loneliness that plagues me so

So I’m waiting for that train to come
And I know where she’s coming from
Listen can you hear her on the track
When I board I won’t be looking back

Hallelujah

The Wailin’ Jennnys

Pick Me…

photo

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you…1 Thessalonians 1:4

No matter your age, there is always something thrilling about being picked or chosen.

Every summer our church allows the members to submit favorite hymns which are then selected by our music minister to be used during a Sunday service. At the start of the summer, I submitted three hymns and I have waited patiently for months to see if one of my choices made the cut.

Actually, I didn’t wait that patiently.

I would hustle in each Sunday and pick up the bulletin and quickly peruse it hoping to see my name. To be honest, all the hymns previously selected have been great but for some ridiculous reason, I wanted one of my choices to be sung. There is no rational explanation for my competitive behavior.

Yesterday, I rushed in to church and was thrilled to see my song, “Be Thou My Vision” as one of the choices for the service. I instantly behaved like a juvenile and was thrilled to the core. Such a silly girl. My family was thoroughly amused.

What is it about us that we need to feel special? We think we need to be picked. Truth is, we are already chosen. God chose us first…He knows the hairs on our head and He wove and knit us in our mother’s womb. How much better can it be than that?

I enjoyed the hymn but I reminded myself that what is most important is to worship the One who chose me. God loves us so much that He sent His only Son that we might know we are beloved. That is truly a concept I can grasp.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Humming the Hymns

Image

 

I’m in a hymn mood today. Pandora allows me to set up a music channel that only plays hymns of faith. For me, hymns are more relaxing than any “zen” type music on the market.

Today…I’m ready to hum to the hymns.

So much thought went into the old standards and I love to listen to the songs that have been sung for centuries. It takes me back to a life-long love with Christian music and with singing. I love the new contemporary melodies as well but the old hymns take me home. They are magical.

Growing up my favorite Sunday was the fifth Sunday of any month. On fifth Sundays in the Baptist church we had an evening where we could pick out favorite songs and sing a few stanzas with the congregation. My Dad and I took great pains to try to stump the Baptists and pick obscure hymns. Believe me…my Dad knew them all. But it is pretty difficult to stump a hard core group of believers who also love these precious tunes.

Faith passed from generation to generation through soul-filled melodies…what is more perfect than that?

My hope is built on nothing less.