The Story for Us All

By now you have certainly joined the over 24 million Youtube viewers who have seen one of the flash mob performances of Handel's Messiah. He would have liked it performed this way. Handel's motivation in writing the entire three-part Messiah was to tell "The Story" in an accessible way to the general public. Interestingly, it was also one of the first examples of a "cause-culture" initiative, the kind of integration that we at The Clapham Group believe in. The Messiah's first performance was in Dublin at an event to raise money for a charitable hospital. When it was performed next in London, it benefited city orphanages, which became Handel's annual "cause-culture" beneficiary.Music has always had a special place in our family over Christmas. We enjoy reading Ace Collins' Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas every year and are always surprised at the universal appeal of "The Story" as it is told through song.We are also attracted to "The Story" because, as Handel's lyrics proclaim: "The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord." There is a sense in all of us that the world is not the way it ought to be. The Story gives us hope in a redemption that has come and we can participate in.Grace was born on Christmas morning. The old has passed and the new has come. "The Story" can guide us to better the world in which we live. It is why we should love our neighbor, tend to the sick and care about the orphans. There is a U2 song called "Grace" which poetically summarizes this for me: "Grace - she takes the blame, she covers the shame, she removes the stain. It could be her name. Grace - it's a name for a girl, it's also a thought that changed the world."  May this thought, this Story, be a grace to you this New Year!Merry Christmas,Mark Rodgers and The Clapham Group