From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
If oratory is the highest art, music must surely be a close second. George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” is a splendid example of how the written word set to music affects the human heart. The text for the music was compiled from the Bible by Handel’s friend Charles Jennens, who chose 1 Timothy 3:16 for Messiah’s epigraph: “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up to glory.”
When it was first performed in 1742, a member of the audience expressed gratitude to Handel for “producing such a wonderful piece of ‘entertainment.’ “Entertainment!” Handel replied. “My purpose was not to entertain, but to teach them something.” For centuries Handel’s message has resonated in hearts, proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord who died and rose again. A soprano solo in the Messiah masterpiece combines Job 19 and 1 Corinthians 15 to proclaim: “I know that my Redeemer lives … for now is Christ risen from the dead.”
On the other hand, music can also have the opposite effect on people, causing hopelessness and despair. A popular song years ago invited listeners to visualize an existence where there is no Heaven, no Hell, no religion; where everyone lives only for today. The Bible describes such people becoming “vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21, KJV). Parents, listen to the words your children are speaking and be mindful of every form of entertainment to which they are exposed. Lead and guide them to wholesomeness at every turn in life.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)