As I read the section, “The Language of Music” from the “Essentials in Worship History” ebook, I was stunned upon learning that Messiah‘s premier performance was a charitable event, raising 400 pounds and releasing 142 men from debtors prison. I did a little research after reading that, and learned that Handel personally conducted over thirty performances of the work during his lifetime, most of them as charitable benefits. Although I have taken numerous music history courses in college, and heard Messiah performed publicly more than once, I never knew that little bit of history. But, that changes everything! It puts this amazing artistic masterpiece into perspective as a worship expression. It was birthed as an act of justice! Perhaps that is the reason it has survived and been revered as such a masterpiece. It speaks to the heart of man because it bears the heart of God – a heart of compassion and forgiveness! Would that our worship expressions today be accompanied by such acts of social justice.