Revelation 19:6 – And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (KJV)
The practice and preparation was an arduous and laborious journey to overcome, only to reach the halfway point. Predicated on excellence, the auditions began. The reward of my effort deserved its worth, as I was one of many select vocal talents who qualified to meet the professional standard for this classical masterpiece. The rejected recipients sadly faded to despair. The elect rose to the height of sensory exhilaration whilst singing during the mist of rehearsals.
Universally acclaimed as one of his finest works, the chorale of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor was the musical selection. The German text during the Recitative, (taken from a poem Ode to Joy by Friedrich Schiller in 1785) demanded precise articulation, apart from the accuracy of harmonization.
The invitation came from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. The command performance was granted to the Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Eugene Ormandy, and renowned choral conductor, Robert Page, along with the Temple University Concert Choir and members of the University Singers. We rehearsed diligently and feverishly for many weeks. Then, both were united for a pre-performance rehearsal. Later, to our dismay, we discovered that the concert was supplanted by a disruption in the President's itinerary due to events surrounding the Vietnam War, and was never performed.
As I contemplate the spiritual depth of today's Scripture passage and the words of the chorale …
- Freude! Freude!
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Do you sense your Creator, O world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
… once again, I find myself enlightened, not by the vain excellence of human achievement, or by the tryouts, or the preparatory toil for success, or the disappointments, but by the simplicity of salvation. Although our Ode to Joy may sustain us in the present, we have full assurance that, in heaven, no performance of praise to God will ever be cancelled. And we shall be amongst the myriads of perfected voices in chorus effortlessly worshipping and joyously singing praises to Christ the Saviour in one accord — as we offer Him the Ode to Joy — the alleluias that He so rightly deserves.
Prayer: Father God, we thank You for our redemption through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We humble ourselves as we sojourn in anxious anticipation of honouring Him with the praise that He so rightfully deserves. Strengthen us until the day of His return, the One in Whose name we pray. Amen.