Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Second Sunday of Advent, continued (Malachi 3)

The words of Malachi 3:1-4 (RCL: Year C, Advent 2) may be most familiar to many of us through Handel's Messiah, since this text appears in two pieces (no. 6 and no. 7) near the start of part one of that most beloved of Handel's works (listen with Real Player; or listen and listen with JOrbisPlayer).

Here is a great quote from the well-known Anglican William Temple that brings out the theology of this material:

“For very love’s sake God will be relentlessly stern against all in us that is self-centered; our lower nature and unconverted hearts are likely to think Him cruel.... The love of God is not a sentimental readiness to give us what we want; it is a passionate yearning to raise us to its own likeness” (HT: Joseph McCabe, Handel’s Messiah: A Devotional Commentary [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978], 23).

Interested in a more jazzy, modern version of all this? In this video clip, Daphne Mitchell makes this song her own in a 2004 performance of "The Young Soulful Messiah." Malachi is far from irrelevant today!

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