The final minutes of Handel’s life

Monument to George Frideric Handel in Halle, Germany, at night

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my mediation be sweet to him; I will be glad in the LORD.

Psalm 104:33.34.

In Westminster Abbey in London visitors are attracted by a fine statue of the great composer George Frederick Handel (1685-1759). The maestro stands in front of his organ holding in his hand a sheet of music that bears these simple words: “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). He had composed a magnificent oratorio with an aria on these words from the Bible.

It is said that, before he died, the famous musician had Psalm 91 read to him. “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him will I trust. … You shall not be afraid of the terror by night” (vv. 2 & 5).

Regarding those who honour Him with such confidence, God declares: “Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name” (v.14).

Handel also asked for the 15th chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians to be read and interrupted the reader several times, saying, “Stop for a moment; read that verse again!”

His last words were:  “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Let me die and rise again with you.”

Such a peaceful end is no exception; it can be the experience of all who have put their destiny in the hands of Jesus, who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).