The Oratorio…

According to wikipedia, an Oratorio is “a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists”. Little did I know that attending an Oratorio would give me a picture into what the body of Christ should really look like.

In recent weeks I have had discussions with some friends about the differences in the body of Christ as far as it comes to different types of worship or different denominations. Controversy lurks in every corner of these discussions and unfortunately it is never resolved or concluded. At least not in my head.

Some may say there other Christians who are too emotional and lack the doctrine, while some may say others have plenty doctrine but they lack any emotion. In both these cases, I would probably agree and I would agree that in most cases, there are also extremes.

I will ask, is one better then the other? or is there room for both?

The answer lies in an Oratorio called “Handel’s Messiah“. One of the most famous masterpieces created by George Frideric Handel in 1741. I had the privilege of attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah on Good Friday (which I have thought would make a great tradition during the Easter festivities.) I am sure I had heard bits and pieces of this before but never attended a proper performance of this great oratorio.

The amazing thing about this piece of art, was that it included two dynamics that came together to portray the Gospel in its proper light. The words used in Messiah are all taken from the Bible and represent the complete doctrine of the Gospel. The music that frames these words are used to convey the emotions that this wonderful doctrine of the Gospel produces when taken to heart. The combination of the words (doctrine) and the music (emotion) are a beautiful picture of what we as the Body of Christ should look like.

Many times we are quick to learn doctrine and pretend there is no emotion that is created. or we try and manufacture emotion based upon false or whimsical doctrine. In either case you are going to hurt the entire message of the Gospel.

There is a truth (doctrine) that there is a God, and that this God loved us so much, that he has provided a way, through Christ, that we may have salvation from our sins which produces in us a joy that is overwhelming (emotion).

Remember that there should be a balance because too much doctrine can begin to complicate the simple message of grace and that too much emotion and create watered down feelings that are not supported by the Word of God.

The other thing I took away from this oratorio was the members of the orchestra, the choir, and the soloists. It is such a beautiful picture of how we all work together as the Body of Christ to present this message of the Gospel, through our message (doctrine) and through our love (emotion). We all have certain gifts and roles to play. Some are the soloists who preach and teach every Sunday, or those who share the Gospel with a friend for the first time. Others are in the choir, who volunteer in children’s ministry, or at the thrift shop, or provide financial support. Then there are others who may be in the orchestra all with different instruments and skills, what ever that may be. Watchman Nee said in his book The Body of Christ the following,
How do I live as a member of the body of Christ? The body must be taken as the unit and boundary of all my works and living. In the physical realm, when my hand works, it is not my hand but my body which works; when my feet walk, it is not my feet but my body which walks. A physical member never does anything for its own self; whatever it does is for the sake of the body. So too is this true in the spiritual realm. All the actions of a member of the body of Christ are governed by the body of Christ, not by the individual member himself. Whether God puts me in first or in last place, it is equally acceptable with me. For only the one who does not see, know, and experience the body of Christ will be proud or jealous.”

In Romans 12:3-8, it says,
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, {each of us is to exercise them accordingly:} if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;  or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

In Conclusion, every time you listen to Handel’s Messiah, I hope you remember that first, there is a wonderful Gospel message and second, realize all of the various numbers of people that it takes to portray that message to you both in words (doctrine) and its music (emotion). We can only truly present the Gospel when we have both the Truth from the Word of God and display the Love that was shown by our Savior Jesus Christ.
PS: One of my favorite choruses of was based upon 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 and I have a version posted on here from You Tube. I have also posted the words below. Enjoy!

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.

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