Music monologue merges Maundy, Tenebrae services

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

First Christian Church is gearing up to present a powerful program depicting the last days of Christ.

“The Living Last Words” is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Temple of Jesus Christ Family Life Center.

The presentation by Ruth Elaine Schram, a nationally known choral composer, consists of monologues from those who may have been at the foot of the cross as Jesus was crucified, including Jesus’ mother, Mary, a shepherd, the disciple John, a Pharisee, a Roman soldier and the sibling of one of the thieves who was crucified next to Jesus, according to Beth Clark, First Christian Church’s music director.

“These monologues provide interesting personal accounts of the crucifixion, alternating with beautifully moving choral anthems, each based on the seven last phrases Christ spoke from the cross,” Clark wrote in an email. “What (the service) does is (the characters) are giving their personal perspectives, not only on Jesus’ crucifixion, but also what they knew about him in life. That’s what makes it so powerful is you’re getting perspectives of what people at that time might’ve been thinking.”

According to Milton Dail, public relations chairman for First Christian Church, the church did the presentation for the first time last year. Dail plays a Pharisee in his first year participating in the program, he said.

Dail said the event is meant to merge Maundy and Tenebrae services, in which the church will take communion. The service ends at the point where Jesus dies on the cross, he said.

“It ends up being a powerful program,” Dail said. “Maundy Thursday you celebrate communion because of the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples. Tenebrae is a service of darkness, and everything is draped in black to kind of symbolize Christ’s death. This (presentation) kind of merges the two together.”

Temple of Jesus Christ Family Life Center is located at 906 W. Eighth St. in Washington.