The story of Jesus Christ's birth has become grander in Calvary Assembly of God's new original musical, "Mary & Joseph – The Miraculous Journey."
As told in the Bible, the tale behind Christ's birth involves the Virgin Mary who conceived Christ, the Son of God, through action from the Holy Spirit. Then Mary and her fiancé, Joseph, journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Christ was born in a manger. Christ would grow up to become an adult and was crucified for the world's sins, with the promise to redeem anyone who'll believe he's truly the Son of God. After Christ's death, he arose from the dead three days later.
Calvary, which has been hosting theatrical productions since 1983, will present the fascinating story of Christ's arrival through the eyes of Mary and Joseph. This fresh perspective will uncover the countless struggles the couple faced in order for the miracle of Christ's birth to take place.
Angela Coon, Calvary's creative arts minister and wife to the church's lead pastor, Ronald, took some time out to discuss the origins of "The Miraculous Journey," which cost approximately $10,000 to produce.
Sunday's show marks the final show date of "Mary & Joseph," which debuted Wednesday.
Q What were some of the conflicts Mary and Joseph endured as a result of agreeing to be Christ's parents?
A No one at that time had heard from God by a prophet or angel for 400 years, so for anyone to believe Mary ─ that an angel visited her and said she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit ─ was difficult even though it was prophesied. I think when we read the scripture it just seems like it was so simple for Mary. She just said "let it be unto me as you have said." Yet when she said yes to the angel, she had to know in the back of her mind that this wasn't something that would be easy. There would be people who wouldn't believe. It makes you wonder what was going on in her head. We don't get a real picture of that because she was humble and accepted that. We're going to portray that struggle. What will people think about Mary's story? We've written a song about that. Mary's mother comes around to believe this is going to be great. "I'm going to be the mother of the Messiah." And she gets all excited about it. But Mary's father, Joakim, isn't excited at all. He's a realist. He feels: "Think of the shame that this will bring to our family." And when Mary tells him the child is not from Joseph, he explodes.
Q Since the Bible doesn't give an account of how Mary and Joseph's parents reacted to Mary's story, how were you and your team still able to portray this scenario?
Page 2 of 3 - A We're trying to imagine ─ knowing the culture and the time, and the law – what it would've been like for a Jewish man at the time. If a virgin was violated before she was married, then she probably wouldn't get married. She would be single for the rest of her life with no one to support her after her parents were gone. That was disgraceful. In our culture today, we don't even think of these things. But back then they had to. When Mary and Joseph were betrothed, it was an engagement. But their engagement was different from ours. It was more like a binding agreement, and you didn't go back on it unless there was something like this that happened. The scripture does tell us that Joseph could've divorced her privately and broken the betrothal. It wasn't something that was done very often. It took a lot of shame to do that. And this was part of the conflict. The shame that this would bring on Mary and Joseph's family was a very heavy burden to have to bear. For Joseph, this was a horrible, very difficult decision he had to make [since he wasn't immediately sure if Mary was truthful about not having an affair.]
Q What inspired you and your team to write "The Miraculous Journey"?
A We didn't plan on writing an original production again. We did it for last Easter. When we met as a team to discuss what we were going to do [last spring], we prayed about it, and we talked about it. And none of us felt like anything we had done in the past was quite right for us to bring back. We just didn't feel comfortable with it. So one of the young men on our team suggested we write this through Joseph's eyes. We said, "What would that look like?" I'll be honest with you, it was scary doing an original in such as short amount of time. You have to write a script. You've got to find music or write music. And we're doing totally new sets. There was a point when I wasn't sure if we should. I was having physical challenges. One of the other major people on the team was having physical challenges. But when we talked it about it, we just felt like God was saying "Trust me. Put your faith in me and trust me just like Joseph and Mary had to."
Q What does it mean to you that you're telling the Nativity story from a unique perspective that many people in the audience might not have considered?
A I think sometimes they think that people are like pawns in God's hands. But we're not puppets in his hands. We have to surrender to his purpose and trust him. This particular story is about the faith and trust it took Mary and Joseph, and their families, to get to the place of surrendering to God's plan for them for this miraculous birth to happen. We call it a miracle because there was so much against them for the Christ child to be born.
Page 3 of 3 - IF YOU GO
WHAT 'Mary & Joseph – The Miraculous Journey' the musical
WHEN 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15
WHERE Calvary Assembly of God, 1141 E. Lebanon Road, Dover
COST Free; canned goods are being accepted to help those in need
INFO Visit calvarydover.wordpress.com or call 697-7776