Last night we went to hear Messiah sung by a community group in our small town. My mind flew back to the first time I ever remember hearing it.
I must have been about eight or nine. Two of the college girls from our church in Nebraska were attending Denver Baptist Bible College and were singing in the choir. I think one of them had a solo part. So, my parents and siblings and I drove the four hours from North Platte to Denver for the concert.
I remember a large choir, maybe 100 members! I remember a lot of beautiful music. Breathtaking. I remember the feeling of awe when everyone stood up for the last number. Awe and relief that it was finally over. I was eight or nine, after all.
I’m not a big fan of opera. I’ve heard reports that my mother and Grandpa McKnight used to listen to opera together on the radio when she was just a baby. I don’t get a lot from opera, especially the foreign language pieces. And, I’m sorry to admit most of the female voices are way too warbly for my ears to enjoy.
But the Messiah, that’s a different story. Now that I’m a little older, I have come to appreciate having a taste of the operatic sound. And then of course, there are the words.
Last night, there in that small-town church I listened as the small choir sang the familiar pieces. They weren’t professional vocalists. They weren’t opera stars. They were local business people, students, retirees, moms, and dads with one thing in common. They love music and they wanted to sing these pieces to the best of their ability, and I believe—to the glory of God.
As I listened to them sing, the words jumped out and grabbed me.
“For unto us a child is born.”
“The mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
“For, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”
“Forever, and ever.”
“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halle-lu-jah!”
I cried as I stood there and imagined all of us in heaven singing these words to our Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. Forever. And ever. Hallelujah!
And this time, when it was over. . . I was sorry.