After he completed the famous oratorio “Messiah,” George Frideric Handel said, “God has visited me."
Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints added its own witness of a living God and a loving Messiah with the release of its 2016 Easter initiative video, titled “Hallelujah.”
The video was released in English on March 13 at followhim.mormon.org and will be released in 28 other languages on March 18.
“The Easter initiative is the church’s witness to the world that because the Savior lives, we all have access to hope, joy, peace, repentance and eternal life as we heed his call to ‘come, follow me’ (Luke 18:22),” according to a press release.
The March 2016 issue of the Ensign includes an article introducing the "Follow Him" initiative.
“Through trials great and small, as each of us seeks to find the Savior, to love him and to follow him, we will find strength in him,” according to the article. “These truths are what inspired George Frideric Handel to compose his magnificent oratorio 'Messiah.' Its ‘Hallelujah' chorus is a majestic declaration of testimony and love for the Savior.”
The purpose of the initiative, produced by the missionary department of the church, is to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ, with a specific invitation to “follow him and find new life," according to Steven King of the missionary department. The video features millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 who were filmed in Los Angeles, New York City and Israel. They are shown holding pictures of deceased loved ones — whom they can be reunited with because of Jesus Christ — and saying, "Hallelujah."
The church encourages viewers to “Share your #hallelujah” by posting a photo to personal social media accounts or to followhim.mormon.org of “a loved one who has passed on — and whom you’ll see again," according to the initiative's website.
The word "hallelujah" is Hebrew for "praise ye the Lord." The initiative's website asks visitors to consider what this really means.
“As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter, discover how this ancient exclamation of joy, hope and love is a fitting summary of his incomparable mission — and his promise of new life for us all,” the website states.
Two other videos were released in conjunction with the campaign. One is an animated video that discusses how deciding to follow the Savior can change a person's life.
The second is the much-anticipated video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a virtual choir singing the "Hallelujah" chorus.
The Tabernacle Choir recently extended an invitation to people throughout the world to submit videos of themselves singing the "Hallelujah" chorus. More than 2,000 people accepted the invitation, and many of them are featured in the new video.
In honor of the 275th anniversary of Handel's "Messiah," the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square released a recording March 4 of the oratorio, as well as a 60-minute highlight video. They will also stream a live performance of "Messiah" from the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Good Friday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. MST.
Church members can help others learn about the new Easter campaign by posting the videos and related GIFs and memes on their social media accounts and including #Hallelujah. These videos and images are available on followhim.mormon.org.