Trinity Lutheran performs Cantata ‘The Living Last Words’
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.
Wendy Testor as Mary weeps as she sees her son crucified by the Romans.
Musical Director Steve Schucker organized the choir and played the organ.
Carl Wischner, Sr. played the stern centurion who responded to the crucifixion and death of Christ.
Trinity’s Choir performed pieces that enhanced the action of each character, such as the haunting “I Thirst,” concluding with “What Wondrous Love.”
Playing the part of a shepherd, Ron Leister reminisces about the birth of Christ and was angered by his murder.