Our community chorus is not affiliated with an organized religious group. As is common for musicians who need to earn a living, our director also runs a church choir in a Baptist church. I'm going to be an extra soprano for her in their Easter service. They are doing a chorus from Messiah I had never heard before. It is, 'But Thanks Be to God'. I finally realized why the title sounds odd. I was looking at the music during my piano class and one of my classmates said, "Well you always look for the conjunction and contrast it with the rest of the sentence." Then I realized what was bothering me. Where is is the rest of Handel's sentence? What was he contrasting the tune to? Maybe it's something along the lines of, no-matter-how-stinky-life-is-you've-still-got-this-resurrection-thing-to-count-on?
Perhaps I'll get a better sense of it when the cellist comes for the dress rehearsal. It's easier being Jewish. We're still waiting.