Salvation: What a Bargain!
I downloaded a Messiah off iTunes the other day. And I highly recommend doing this if you feel there's something missing, if not from the deeper meaning of existence, at least from your holiday music collection. There's not much of a selection, but isn't that always the way with Messiahs?
I have to note, though, that a lot of the Old Testament prophecies transcribed in Part I of the piece did not actually come true in any way that would have made sense to the people who authored them. For example,
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
This is actually one of my favorite chorales - very stirring and uplifting; but it sure seems to me like the prophets had a king of great earthly power in mind. After all, these were guys who were scrabbling out a meager living in some of the crappiest real estate on Earth, fully employed in fighting off neighboring tribes who were eking by in even less hospitable terrain, and not a one of them enough of an outside-the-box thinker to go discover Greenland, or at least the Ukraine. And we expect these guys to have come up with a prophecy that would have meaning for all of human existence?
And this doesn't even begin to get into the fact that the whole "virgin birth" thing came from a mistranslation of the Hebrew "young woman" in the first place, and that of the four Gospels, only Matthew discusses Mary's virginity at the time of Jesus' birth. Did Mark, Luke and John just consider that detail too unimportant to mention?
Still, everybody should have a Messiah. I sang this for a few years running with the Austin Civic Chorus, so I have the printed music as well. If you don't belong to a choral group, you can always go to the Sing Your Own Damn Messiah for full participatory effect.
And if you get one off iTunes, get the whole thing, none of that highlights shit. Mine is on 2 CDs and comprises 43 tracks, yet cost only $7.99; whereas if you bought each track individually they'd cost 99 cents each. So where's your Messiah now? Huh??