Countdown to “The Messiah”: Week 2 of 7

Posted by on Nov 12, 2017 in Choirs (Music), EventReminder, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

“And He Shall Purify”…

On December 17 2017 our choir will be joined by other local choirs to present Part 1 of Handel’s The Messiah. This will be our annual Christmas Cantata (which will be held at the traditional time of 4:15 PM… in our sanctuary). The Tapestry String Quartet along with our own Sue Crispin will play the accompaniment. Jack Rowland will pull everything together by directing the music.

The “Christmas Part” of Handel’s famous oratorio is organized around a series of six Choruses (which are sung by the full choir). A set of solos introduce each chorus. In most cases, there are two solos; one is called a Recitative and the second is called an Air.

The Christmas section of the oratorio actually consists of six choruses, and the Hallelujah Chorus ends the Easter section. But- who could resist- we will end our cantata with the Hallelujah Chorus.

In the weeks leading up to our December 17 Cantata, we will provide weekly “Countdown to The Messiah” articles highlighting one of the seven Choruses that comprise the cantata.

This installment highlights the second chorus. 

For a review of the previous chorus, click this button:   Previous  


Chorus 2 of 7: “And He Shall Purify”


After the initial chorus (“And the Glory of the Lord”), two bass solos remind us that God is holy and that His coming doesn’t only provide comfort; it demands us to change.  God’s holiness demands obedience and like a refiner’s fire, He will burn away all traces of sin and disobedience.

  • Recitative:   “Thus Saith the Lord”          
  • Air:               “But who may abide the Day of His Coming?”                     

The lyrics of the solos come from the following passages (King James Version):    
        Haggai 2:6-7    Malachi 3:1-3       

The solos proclaim God’s holiness and judgement, and then the choir responds that God will purify “the sons of Levi” (the Hebrew priests)-  and all of humanity. 

In Nehemiah chapter 5, the Jewish nobles and officials were charging their poorer countrymen high interest rates, forcing them to sell their children into slavery.

Nehemiah reacted by shaking the fold of his robe and saying, “In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise (of returning the interest and redeeming their children).”

What needs to be “shaken” out of our lives?


The Message

Most of the words of these choruses are very familiar; they come right out of the Bible. But we’re used to the King James words, and sometimes the familiarity with the words blocks us from fully appreciating their meaning. And so, the below summary of our Weekly Chorus uses Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message. The following document summaries the solos leading into the chorus and then it gives some context to the meaning…



The Music

Here’s a video of this week’s chorus…



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For more about this year’s production of The Messiah, see the following post…

Choirs to Present Handel’s Messiah! (12/17/17)



For more info about our choirs, click this button: Choir









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