Tuesday, December 13, 2011
And They Opened Their Mouths...
Did you ever listen to Handel's "Messiah"? Not just the Hallelujah Chorus, but the whole thing? What a triumphant picture! It recalls the entire miracle of God's presence on earth, from annunciation to resurrection, bursting out at intervals in unbridled praise as though Handel simply can't control his amazement. And, as result, neither can we. I like those parts the best...
"Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God in the Highest...
Who is the King of Glory, Who is the King of Glory?....
Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace..."
We went yesterday to listen to this beautiful work and, somewhere along the line, I realized that, in order for us to hear it, a lot of gifted people had to open their mouths and lift up their voices. They had to use what God had given them to His glory, and I was smitten by the result.
The choristers were not being 'spiritual' when they did this. They sang. They just sang. And God burst from them as juice from a ripe fruit.
I don't know how many of them believed in the miracles they sang about, but some of them obviously did. These men and women sang not to exalt themselves, but as conduits, as passageways, for God to declare Himself. In other words, they fulfilled the purpose for which God created them and the duty to which He commands us all:
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.--Psalm 29:1-2
It's simple, really. Live because God gave you life. Worship Him in it.
We can never give to God more than He deserves. We can never pay Him back for when He did for us, but we can use the thing He did give us--our life--in His service.
God gave us life because He wants us to live it.
He gave us love because He wants us to know love. He gave us the sweetness of taking a clean breath, the pleasure of flowers, the inspiration of music, the satisfaction of food and drink. He wants us to enjoy them all, not bottle them up.
God gave those singers beautiful voices not just to sing in the shower, although they probably do that. He did not give them voices just to croon a lullaby for their restless baby, though they can do that, too. He certainly did not give them those voices to compete on American Idol. He did not intend that these voices make them self-aware or satisfyingly self-congratulatory.
God gave them voice for one purpose: to proclaim His glory and in that proclamation, bring delight both to the singer and the listener. When bottled up, the song stagnates. When let loose and shared, it fulfills its purpose.
We could go through life just following God's rules--His Thou-Shalt-Nots--but we will miss the glory God gave in giving us life. We were meant to exceed His law, to grab this life and squeeze it out for God's glory, to let its goodness incubate and bloom in us, broadcasting its seed everywhere in our wake.
Who is the King of Glory? Who is the King of Glory?
Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!