Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd......... Then were saying
" Praise the Lord
Our Lord God all -powerful
Now rules as king
So we will be glad and happy
And give him praise"
Romans 19. 6 - 7
He was a has been - a fossil , a relic , an old fogey........ but as a child George Frideric Handel had accompanied his father to the count of Duke Johann Adolf. Idly wandering into the chapel the boy found the organ and started improvising , causing Duke Adolf to exclaim " Who is this remarkable child?"
This remarkable child soon began composing operas , first in Italy then in London . By his twenties he was the talk of England and the best-paid composer on earth. He opened the Royal Academy of Music. Londoners fought for seats at his every performance and his fame soared around the world.
But the glory passed . Audiences dwindled . His music become outdated. The academy went bankrupt and newer artist eclipsed the aging composer. One project after another failed and Handel grew depressed . The stress brought on a case of palsy that crippled some of his fingers. " Handel 's great days are over" wrote Frederick the Great, " his inspiration is exhausted."
Yet his troubles also matured him , softening his sharp tongue. His temper mellowed , and his music become more heartfelt. One morning Handel received by post a script from Charles Jennens . It was a word - for -word collection of various biblical texts about Christ. The opening words from Isiah 40 Moved Handel " Comfort ye my people .....
On August 22, 1741 , he shut the door of his London home and started composing music for the words. Twenty- three days later, the world had Messiah. " Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it , I know not. Handel later said trying to describe the experience. Messiah opened in London to enormous crowds on March 23,1743. Handel led his harpsichord and King George II , who was present that night surprised everyone by leaping to his feet during the " Hallelujah Chorus " No one knows why: Some believe the king being hard of hearing thought it the national anthem.
No matter ----------- from that day audiences everywhere have stood in reverence during the stirring word : Hallelujah! For he shall reign forever and ever.