“Seven Last Words of Christ”

Dear members and friends of First Congregational,

Today we celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week with our traditional Palm Sunday processional (beginning outdoors or in the Narthex). It is followed by remembering Christ’s Passion (from the Latin root pati, which means “to endure” or “to suffer”) through a new choral/orchestral work by Michael John Trotta.  

“Seven Last Words of Christ” are seven expressions biblically attributed to Jesus during his crucifixion. This musical setting (sung in English) interpolates additional texts and uses warm and varied harmonies to capture the drama of these texts with sweeping lines that are almost “cinematic” in scope, amplifying the wide range of emotions experienced during the Passion. Brief comments/reflections from our pastors will proceed each of the seven movements.   

A few words drawn from the notes of the composer: 

Haunting in their simplicity, (these texts) exposed a gamut of emotions experienced during the Passion, in a way that distills the most poignant moments of the human condition: from the tender forgiveness of the “Father, Forgive Them” to the hopefulness of the promise of paradise, “Today, You Will be with Me.” The work unfolds to reveal a complex tapestry of the states of emotion: compassion (“Behold Your Son”), yearning (“I Thirst”), despair

(“My God, Why Have you Abandoned Me?”) acceptance (“Into Your Hands I Surrender My Soul”), and resignation (“It is Finished.”) This setting uses various interpolations of Biblical and liturgical texts such as the “Kyrie,” “Truly this man was the Son of God,” and “All the gates were opened wide” as commentary on and in dialogue with the words of Christ, further expanding the story and the reaction of those present and witness to the Passion. . .

~ M. J. Trotta

May this morning’s worship deepen our shared experience of Holy Week! 

Yours in Christ,

John Albrecht, Director for Music Ministries

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