Grace Lutheran focuses on ‘Messiah’

Handel’s “Messiah” will be the focus of the midweek Lenten series at Grace Lutheran Church this year.

Services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays during Lent at the church, 211 S. Ninth St. The Ash Wednesday service will begin at 7 p.m. March 5.

“We’re going to take a segment from the passages about Jesus’ passion and resurrection, and do those on five of our six midweek Lenten nights,” said the Rev. Matthew Martens. “I’ll do some commentary on each selection to set it up, with some history and background, and the Biblical passages that are being touched on, and then we’ll listen to that and watch the PowerPoint.”

Music Coordinator Bruce Perry has prepared a PowerPoint to go with each selection, Martens said.

Perry said the oratorio is in three parts, the first focusing on Jesus’ birth, the second on traditional Lenten themes of Jesus’ suffering ultimate resurrection and the third on prophecy of Jesus’ return.

“The middle portion, which we’re focusing on, has things like ‘Worthy is the lamb that was slain,’ and ‘He was despised and rejected of men,'” said Perry. “It’s kind of a dark – it’s not all just the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and ‘For to Us a Child is Born.’

“Handel used a rather eclectic collection of texts, some Old Testament and some New Testament, to tell the story of Jesus being here.”

“It’s often done at Christmas,” Martens said, “But by Handel it was intended to be during Lent and Easter. Opera was not allowed during Lent, so he wrote the oratorio for the Lent and Easter season.”

“It’s an important way of telling the Lenten story,” said Perry. “We try to incorporate arts and music and worship all together so that they heighten people’s worship experiences.”

A supper will served before the meeting at 5:30 p.m.