FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH OF APRIL, 2018
It is only right, with all the powers of our heart and mind, to praise you Father and your only-begotten son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Father, by your wondrous condescension of loving-kindness toward us, your servants, you gave up your son.
Dear Jesus, you paid the debt of Adam for us to the eternal Father by your blood poured fourth in loving-kindness. You cleared away the darkness of sin by your magnificent and radiant resurrection. You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as a conqueror. You reconciled heaven and earth. Our life had no hope of eternal happiness before you redeemed us. Your Resurrection has washed away our sins, restored our innocence and brought us joy. How inestimable is the tenderness of your love! Amen.
( Gregory the Great )
Christ the Lord is risen again; Christ has broken every chain;
"Hark!" angelic voices cry, singing evermore on high, "Alleluia!"
He, who gave for us his life, who for us endured the strife,
is our Paschal lamb today; we, too, sing for joy, and say, "Alleluia!"
He, who bore all pain and loss comfortless upon the cross,
lives in glory now on high, pleads for us, and hears our cry. Alleluia!
He who slumbered in the grave, is exalted now to save;
now through Christendom it rings that the Lamb is King of kings. Alleluia!
He whose path no records tell, who descended into hell;
who the strong man armed has bound, now in highest heaven is crowned. Alleluia!
Now he bids us tell abroad how the lost may be restored,
how the penitent forgiven, how we, too, may enter heaven. Alleluia!
You, our Paschal lamb indeed, Christ, your ransomed people feed:
take our sins and guilt away, let us sing by night and day, "Alleluia!"
( Michael Weisse )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
The premiere performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in Dublin
Georg Friedrich Händel, after devoting much time and energy to the promotion of Italian opera in England, found himself in Ireland in 1741, at the invitation of the Duke of Devonshire, who, at that time was serving as the official representative of the British monarch in Ireland. Händel had won fame and renown in England and so there would have been a ready audience for the famed composer in Ireland. A series of six concerts quickly sold out, followed by another six, and still people wanted more.
The idea was brought up for a “charity” concert (we might call it a fund-raiser). It was to benefit prisoners who were jailed because they owed money, and also the Mercer’s Hospital, and the Charitable Infirmary. The choir was assembled, the soloists engaged. Seven hundred people attended the premiere on the thirteenth of April 13, at the Fishamble Street Hall in Dublin. In order to squeeze as many as possible into the hall, the word was put out: gentlemen were requested to remove their swords, and ladies were asked not to wear hoops in their dresses.
One reviewer stated: "Words are wanting to express the exquisite delight it afforded to the admiring and crowded audience."
It was reported that a Dublin clergyman, Reverend Delaney, was so overcome by Susanna Cibber's rendering of "He was despised" that he leapt to his feet and cried: "Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!"
The rest, as they say, is history.
Händel wrote the music for "Messiah." It was completed in twenty-four days of swift composition. The scripture texts were from the "King James Bible," the psalm texts from the "Book of Common Prayer."
The rumour got started that King George II, attending the London premiere, stood for the "Hallelujah Chorus," thus obliging everyone else to stand. But there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the King was there, or ever attended a production of the "Messiah."
In the subsequent centuries, the "Messiah" has remained as popular as ever. The score really is a living thing. Händel was continually revising it to suit the musical range of those who performed it. Other composers have done the same. It has influenced popular culture in ways that the straightforward preaching of the gospel has not, yet its influence on church men and women is no less profound.
Scripture. In "Psalm Forty," at verse three, we read:
"He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."
... for peace in the world.
... for composers, orchestras, soloists and choirs, who use their talent to transport their audience into a closer communion with God.
... for those whose financial debts have become unmanageable.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "The Problem of Pain" by C. S. Lewis:
We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of the abuse of free will by his
creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound-waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them. All matter in the neighbourhood of a wicked man would be liable to undergo unpredictable alterations. That God can and does, on occasions, modify the behaviour of matter and produce what we call miracles, is part of Christian faith; but the very conception of a common, and therefore stable, world, demands that these occasions should be extremely rare. In a game of chess you can make certain arbitrary concessions to your opponent, which stand to the ordinary rules of the game as miracles stand to the laws of nature. You can deprive yourself of a castle, or allow the other man sometimes to take back a move made inadvertently. But if you conceded everything that at any moment happened to suit him, if all his moves were revocable and if all your pieces disappeared whenever their position on the board was not to his liking, then you could not have a game at all. So it is with the life of souls in a world: fixed laws, consequences unfolding by causal necessity, the whole natural order, are at once limits within which their common life is confined and also the sole condition under which any such life is possible. Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.
O God of majesty, whom saints and angels delight to worship: pour out your Spirit on your servants who, with the gifts of music, enliven our praises and proclaim your word with power. Through their gifts, give us a new awareness of your beauty and grace; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.