It’s November now. It is the month of Thanksgiving. Years ago while a student at Moody I sang with Moody Men’s Glee Club and the Oratorio Chorus. We presented Handel’s Messiah in late November just before we left for Thanksgiving weekend. It was without question a highlight of my life. Since then I have always listened to a recording of Messiah during the month of November. This is now a long-standing cherished family tradition. A few years ago I read an article on Moody’s web site about Oratorio Chorus and Messiah. I sent an e-mail to Moody telling of my experience.
This fall while I was speaking at Camp Barakel, Petie Brown came up to me and said that her daughter Eunice, who is a student at Moody, called to tell her that the night before at Oratorio Chorus practice they read a note to the students. The note was from me. They were using it to encourage the students that their efforts would be a blessing and long remembered.
“Dear Friends, thanks for your piece on Messiah. One of the sweetest memories of my life was of an autumn evening in Chicago. I was a student at Moody. I was in the library in Crowell Hall on a Monday night cramming for a test. Oratorio Chorus was rehearsing in Torrey-Gray. I was in Men’s Glee and of course Oratorio Chorus but I had skipped a rehearsal to prepare for a test. I opened the library window to let in fresh autumn air and the beautiful strains of music drifted up through the Plaza. I thought about a time one day when we would all kneel around the throne of Christ. It moved my heart to worship and to tears.
I have been a pastor now for over twenty years. I am married. We have four boys and four girls. Over the years since I have left Moody we have established an annual family tradition of listening to a treasured recording of Messiah each November. It always brings back to me the sweet memory of that night. Through the years the Lord Jesus has been so good and so faithful to me. It always stirs my heart again to meditate on His life through Handel’s matchless music.”
There is music and then there is music. Some music is met with a popular reception and quickly fades. Other music will endure for decades, maybe even centuries. I am of the opinion that music is a powerful thing and rarely if ever neutral. There is a philosophy of life that drives every type of music. There is a message subtle or overt in every song. Sometimes the message is clearly evident in the words. Sometimes it surfaces in the body movements or vocal techniques of the singer. Sometimes it is communicated through the life choices of the performer, but there is always a message implicit in every kind of music. Some music especially lends itself sacred things. Some music is low and vulgar fit only for the garbage dumps of humanity, the nightclub and dens of sin. My heart is grieved when the godly themes are matched with vulgar forms of music. When holy lyrics are married to sensual music styles I know our Holy God is not honored.
Christians have a limited amount of time to work with before the sun sets and eternity commences so if we are wise we will be very careful that we use our time on what is best. We should give long consideration to what our music says and what it implies. We should consider if the music way make and love has any enduring worth.
I have a large collection of recordings. At the moment I am listening to a beautiful recording or organ music by J. Marty Cope with Tim Zimmerman and the King’s Brass. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jmartycope It is beautiful music befitting the majesty of it’s theme. I’m sure I will listen to it over and over again. And especially in November Handel’s Messiah will always be near the top of the stack.