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Handel's Messiah is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The libretto of the work, taken directly from the King James text of fourteen books of the Bible, has turned many otherwise forgettable phrases into memorable, singable, cherished lines of Scripture.This gift-worthy book will delight and inspire classical music fans and those for whom Messiah is a beloved Christmas tradition with essays exploring the theological, historical, and pastoral implications of the Scriptures that make up Handel's Messiah. Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from Messiah, the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor. Readers can peruse the book at leisure or examine one reflection per day throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.
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Table of Contents

PART 1: CHRIST'S BIRTH AND ITS FORETELLING1. Comfort Ye My People (Isaiah 40:1-5) Movements 1-4 2. I Will Shake All Nations (Haggai 2:1-9) Movement 5 (Part 1) 3. He Shall Come (Malachi 2:13-3:1) Movement 5 (Part 2) 4. And He Shall Purify (Malachi 3:2-4)Movements 6 and 7 5. God with Us (Isaiah 7:10-16)Movement 8 6. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings (Isaiah 40:6-9)Movement 9 (Part 1) 7. Arise, Shine (Isaiah 60:1-6)Movements 9 (Part 2) and 10 8. The People That Walked in Darkness (Isaiah 9:1-2)Movement 11 9. For unto Us a Child Is Born (Isaiah 9:3-7)Movement 12 10. Keeping Watch (Luke 2:8-10)Movements 13-15 (Part 1) 11. Born This Day (Luke 2:11-12)Movement 15 (Part 2) 12. Glory to God (Luke 2:13-20)Movements 16 and 17 13. Rejoice Greatly (Zechariah 9:9-12)Movement 18 14. The Lame Shall Leap (Isaiah 35:1-7)Movement 19 15. He Shall Feed His Flock (Isaiah 40:10-11)Movement 20 (Part 1) 16. His Yoke Is Easy (Matthew 11:16-30)Movements 20 (Part 2) and 21 PART 2: CHRIST'S PASSION AND RESURRECTION17. Behold the Lamb (John 1:29-34)Movement 22 18. He Was Despised (Isaiah 52:13-53:3)Movement 23 19. He Bore Our Griefs (Isaiah 53:4-5, 9-12)Movements 24 and 25 20. All We Like Sheep (Isaiah 53:6)Movement 26 21. They Laugh Him to Scorn (Psalm 22:1-15)Movements 27 and 28 22. There Was No One to Comfort Him (Psalm 69:7-20)Movement 29 23. Sorrow Like unto His Sorrow (Lamentations 1:1-12)Movement 30 24. He Was Cut Off (Psalm 16:9-11)Movements 31 and 32 25. He Is the King of Glory (Psalm 24)Movement 33 26. Let All the Angels Worship Him (Hebrews 1:1-8)Movements 34 and 35 27. Even from Thine Enemies (Psalm 68:1-12, 17-20)Movements 36 and 37 28. How Beautiful (Romans 10:8-15)Movement 38 29. Into All Lands (Psalm 19)Movement 39 30. Why Do the Nations Rage? (Psalm 2:1-3, 7-8)Movements 40 and 41 31. The Lord Shall Break Them (Psalm 2:4-6, 9-12)Movements 42 and 43 32. Hallelujah (Revelation 19:6-16)Movement 44 PART 3: CHRIST'S ETERNAL REIGN33. My Redeemer Liveth (Job 19:23-27)Movement 45 (Part 1) 34. For Now Christ Is Risen (1 Corinthians 15:12-20)Movement 45 (Part 2) 35. All Shall Be Made Alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)Movement 46 36. We Shall Be Changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)Movements 47 and 48 37. Death, Where Is Thy Sting? (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)Movements 49-51 38. If God Be for Us (Romans 8:31-39)Movement 52 39. Worthy Is the Lamb (Revelation 5:11-13)Movement 53 (Part 1) 40. Amen (Revelation 5:14)Movement 53 (Part 2)

About the Author

Albert L. Blackwell is the Reuben B. Pitts Professor Emeritus of Religion at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the founder of The Piedmont Resource Center, and received Furman's Meritorious Teaching Award in 1977. He also serves as director of the choir at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville.

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