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16. December 2017 · Comments Off on SO WHY DO WE STAND FOR “HALLELUJA?” · Categories: General · Tags: ,

Last weekend I attended a performance of Handel’s MESSIAH. As is customary, when the orchestra began the introduction to the HALLELUJAH chorus, the audience stood.  I looked around to see if anyone was sitting, and I didn’t notice anyone. 

In checking out the question “why do people stand for the Hallelujah chorus?” I find that the opinions and feelings about this are by no means unanimous.  In fact, I came across someone’s blog entry that was entitled “why I sit through the Hallelujah chorus”.

But the most prevalent theory is that during an early London performance, King George II stood and remained standing when the “Hallelujah” was sung.  The rule of etiquette was that subjects of the realm did not remain seated while the monarch stood.  So the audience stood and remained standing until the king took his seat again.  But alas, nobody can say with absolute certainty why the king stood, because he never commented on it to anyone.  So there are all kinds of theories about that and not all of them make a lot of sense. For example, perhaps the king was tired after sitting such a long time (Messiah is a lengthy work of music) and that he therefore took a “stretch break”. Another theory is that he stood to relieve the pain of his gout, and still others believe that he fell asleep during the performance and woke up with a start by the loud music of “Hallelujah”.  Others say he was so moved that he stood out of respect for the music.

All of these are “secular” theories and none of them sounds convincing to me. King George was a Christian king, head of the English Church, and would have been knowledgeable of the Scriptures. The Hallelujah Chorus (indeed the words of the entire work MESSIAH) are Scripture verses in the King James version.  When the words of this chorus sounded, George knew, that it was referring to his Lord, to a King greater than himself.  The King of kings is the King of England’s superior. The King of England is a subject of the Greater King, the Creator and Sovereign of Heaven and Earth. As a Christian King who believed in the Divine Right of Kings, he would have acknowledged even at his own coronation that he rules England only by the grace of the Great King and no other.

But the people in the audience also stood, whether out of royal protocol that demanded standing when the king did, or perhaps out of solidarity with their fellow subject of the King of Kings, we do not really know.

But why do people stand today?  I’m sure that most stand simply out of tradition, and it is not a bad thing at all to keep good traditions.  I will tell you that I stand out of an inner conviction that the words being sung are true:  Jesus is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The Bible says that one day, all, including those who today do not believe it nor acknowledge the Lordship of Christ will be compelled to do so as Philippians 2:10-12 tells us, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NIV).  Many will do so when that time comes because they will have no other alternative.   But those who know and and love Him, do so now, not out of compulsion but of our own conviction and will and conviction.  I am one of those

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world

Is become the kingdom of our Lord,

And of His Christ, and of His Christ;

And He shall reign for ever and ever,

For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,

And Lord of lords,

And He shall reign,

And He shall reign forever and ever,

King of kings, forever and ever,

And Lord of lords,

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,

King of kings! and Lord of lords!

And He shall reign forever and ever,

King of kings! and Lord of lords!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

Revelation 19:6; 11:15; 19:16

 

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