As we progress through the season of Lent my husband and I, along with members of our Life Group who meet weekly, continue to study The Messiah.
Much of the music is proving to be astoundingly beautiful and my affection grows for the entire work. Like other music selections often do when the melody and lyrics unite in near perfection, I thrill to “hear” the music each time I wake briefly here and there during the night or as I go about my day and there is a lull.
What is particularly wonderful about The Messiah is the fact that the lyrics are scripture. Have a desire to recall scripture but struggle with memorization? Adding the element of music makes the task considerably easier.
Acquiring the entire work is simple. For less than $10 you can download it onto a phone, MP3 player, computer or tablet.
These days I grab my Kindle Fire and run it through my car speakers as I drive about town.
Hearing the story of Christ presented with such beauty adds remarkable balance to the sometimes tedium and monotony of modern life. It harmonizes the past and the present.
This week the study linked the Chorus “He Trusted in God That He Would Deliver Him” with Psalms 22 for greater understanding. This kind of look into the Bible reminds me that being a lifelong learner is thrilling.
Psalm 22 was written by King David and not only describes in vivid detail his own very personal suffering, but describes the crucifixion of Jesus. What makes this particularly stunning is the fact that this Psalm predates Jesus’ experience on the cross. In fact, crucifixion was invented centuries later and the descriptions are so accurate the psalm resembles a prophecy.
Yet another aspect of the psalm that makes it fascinating is its format. It’s called an individual lament by academics and features five parts: the invocation (God is addressed), complaints (details of the painful situation), expressions of trust (outlines what King David knows God has done in the past), petitions (specific requests to God for help), and expressions of praise (a thank you for God’s impending help).
Logical flow to this psalm gives us a great model for the ways we can pray about things of great concern to us. It reminds us that we can be very real with God; we can be personal and express whatever we are thinking and feeling. We’re also reminded that specific steps taken to flesh out the meaning of complex issues and to work through fears and hopes are very healing when we invite God to be part of the process.
Because we grow when we work through difficulties, the hope for good outcomes is ever present even if we’re suffering.
We also learn that there are very few instant fixes available. Life is messy. Complex. So are people. And while we live in a highly connected, instantaneous age of technology, our life situations are rarely fixed with such speed. Space and time are required. So is a hope for eternity and forgiveness and love.
God gifts us with all that and more.