Trin­ity Lutheran per­forms Can­tata ‘The Liv­ing Last Words’

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - LOCAL NEWS - By Tina Ehrig Trin­ity Lutheran Church

Dom­i­nat­ing the wor­ship space at Trin­ity Lutheran Church in Topton on Good Fri­day were three huge crosses and a large sun­set mu­ral of the cru­ci­fix­ion scene at Jerusalem. Sim­ple yet pow­er­ful, the scene was the vis­ual fo­cus for the Can­tata, “The Liv­ing Last Words” by Ruth Schram. Per­formed by Trin­ity’s choir and ac­tors, the Can­tata was in­spired by the seven last words of Christ and imag­ined the re­sponses of wit­nesses at Cal­vary.

Short dra­matic mono­logues from such char­ac­ters as the Ro­man sol­dier, Christ’s mother Mary, John, the priest, the shep­herd and the thief’s sis­ter helped us un­der­stand var­i­ous points of view which were en­hanced by stir­ring pieces by the choir. The sib­ling’s pain at see­ing her brother’s tor­ture was heart­break­ing. The proud and mock­ing priest taunted Christ to save him­self, as­sured that this will break up the apos­tles for­ever. The shep­herd re­mem­bered Christ’s birth and af­ter Mary wept and prayed for strength, the choir sang “I Thirst.” John the dis­ci­ple, who was grief­stricken at the suf­fer­ing of his friend, was in­cred­u­lous at the an­gry crowd’s re­jec­tion and de­mand for cru­ci­fix­ion.

The choir sings the stir­ring “Into Your Hands” and the gruff Cen­tu­rion fi­nally calls out, “Truly this man was the son of God!” The char­ac­ters leave the stage as the choir sings “It is Fin­ished”.

How­ever, with the re­as­sur­ing last song, “What Won­drous Love,” the choir makes us see that there is hope for all of us and for­give­ness will come. “We will re­mem­ber, we will not for­get.”

The Can­tata mu­sic was or­ga­nized by Steven Schucker, who con­ducted the choir and played the or­gan. Soloists were David and Matthew Ehrig, Re­nee Geiger and Wanda Scarl. Elizabeth Schucker or­ga­nized the ac­tors. Ma­jor roles were played by Carl Wis­chner, Sr. as the Sol­dier, John Pursell as the Priest, Hay­ley Pursell as the sib­ling, Ron Leis­ter as the Shep­herd, Wendy Tester as Mary, Steve Rein­hard as John, Peter Fen­ster­ma­cher as Je­sus and Olivia Fen­ster­ma­cher as Mary Mag­da­lene. The mu­ral was painted by Meghan Quier and con­struc­tion was pro­vided by Men’s Min­istry.

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Wendy Testor as Mary weeps as she sees her son cru­ci­fied by the Ro­mans.

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Mu­si­cal Di­rec­tor Steve Schucker or­ga­nized the choir and played the or­gan.

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Carl Wis­chner, Sr. played the stern cen­tu­rion who re­sponded to the cru­ci­fix­ion and death of Christ.

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Trin­ity’s Choir per­formed pieces that en­hanced the ac­tion of each char­ac­ter, such as the haunt­ing “I Thirst,” con­clud­ing with “What Won­drous Love.”

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Play­ing the part of a shep­herd, Ron Leis­ter rem­i­nisces about the birth of Christ and was an­gered by his mur­der.

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