Easter is coming, and one of the ways I always focus myself through these last weeks of lent is to listen to Handel’s Messiah…it’s not just for Christmas, you know. There’s one particular spot in the Messiah that strikes me with more meaning every time I hear it. And, ironically, it’s not a piece of music at all; it’s a space that comes between two of the songs.
I’m sure many people are familiar with the Hallelujah Chorus as being one of the highlights of the Messiah. If you see a live performance of the Messiah, then you know that it is tradition for everyone in the auditorium to stand during the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. Many performances I have been to invite the audience to sing along as well. Music fills the room with hundreds of voices proclaiming King of kings and Lord of lords…He will reign forever and ever. It’s a song that tells of the incredible majesty of our God; that he is supreme above all creation and upholds the entire universe in his hand.
And when the song is over—with the echo of this great chorus still ringing through the rafters of the performance hall—one soloist stands up and a single voice softly proclaims the words I know that my redeemer liveth. We are immediately transported from a moment of acknowledging the supreme sovereignty of God to a moment of quietly confessing a personal faith in knowing he is my personal savior—my redeemer. And I know beyond doubt that he lives.
It’s in that small space of silence between the songs that God’s powerful transcendence and tender imminence meets. In fact, quite often in life it is in the small spaces of silence that we notice the fullness of how God moves and sustains us and sustains this world. But it is in the silence that I notice this.
I live in a Denver suburb, and I miss silence. There is always noise—around the clock. I hear the highway traffic; I hear jet planes overhead; I hear people. Life here never has moments of being completely still or completely quiet. But it is in those small moments of silence that we catch glimpses of the almighty. Those in-between spaces are the places where God comes through and makes himself known. Are you listening?
till next time…