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'Hallelujah' Chorus Flash Mob Brings Joy to Shoppers

In October of 2012, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers to perform a Random Act of Culture in the heart of a busy Macy’s store in Philadelphia. Accom­panied by the largest pipe organ in the world the Opera Company infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” at high noon.

The reactions on the faces of shoppers and salespeople are worth the YouTube visit —which has been replayed over 9 million times. People with shopping bags stop to raise their hands. Phones are pulled out of pockets and purses to record the moment. The busywork of a crowded mall in action otherwise stopped in its tracks by words that make it all seem so small.

And He shall reign forever and ever,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah

The most posted comment after the replaying of this random act of culture is the presence of teary eyes and tingling spines. “Just beautiful!” said one. “Moving beyond words.” “It brought tears to my eyes.” “It gave me goosebumps.”

Noticeably absent from all this commentary was reaction from those who seem to find something wrong with anything Christian in the public arena. “I’m an atheist, and I approve of this random act,” writes one responder with a smiley face. “I’m Hindu and I tearfully agree!” another replied.

Handel and the art that still stirs imagination and gratitude were inseparably inspired by the story of a God who comes near—the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in Spirit, embodied, in Person. Hallelujah indeed!


Jill Carattini, “Random Hallelujahs,” RZIM: A Slice of Infinity (12-16-16)

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