Wise Men Seek Him...With Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, we have an opportunity...

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  • Sunday, December 13, 2020THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

    PRELUDE Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers, Wake!) J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

    NEWS OF THE CHURCH Rev. Ruth Bell Olsson


    In a world of despair, where depression rates run high, where there has been so much sadness and loss, God, we call upon you to come.

    In a world where joy is a distant memory, we call upon you, Great God of Joy, to come.

    In this season of Advent, we wait for the coming of Joy into our world. We await the birth of the Anointed One, the Promised Child, who comes into our lives in a new way.

    Come, Messiah, Come, and Save Us.



    From After the Prelude, Year A by William H. Mathis © 2010 Chorister Guild. Used by permission.

    Dear God,

    We pray for the joy that is found in Jesus,



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    OPENING CAROL Wise Men Seek Him

    Music: TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM, Piae Cantiones, 1582 Words: Jack Brown © 2007, GIA/NACCC. Used by permission, One License #729334-A

    OPENING PRAYER Rev. Dr. Jonathan White

    O Great Love, With a sky full of stars and a world full of flowers, there should be no end to my joy. And yet, instead of decorating my very being with joy, I let it slip away like loose change. Instead of singing like Mary, or dancing like David, I pass by remarkable beauty and love most days, unfazed. Forgive me.

    Teach me the ways of children, who laugh and dance and sing as if joy is the very thing that keeps them alive. Maybe they have joy figured out.

    Gratefully we pray, Amen. ---Sanctifiedart.org


    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.

    SCRIPTURE READING Psalm 126 Scott Bosscher

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    MEDITATION 1 Pastor Bell Olsson

    AMAHL, PART 1 Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)

    MEDITATION 2 Pastor White

    AMAHL, PART 2 G. C. Menotti

    CALL TO OFFERING Pastor White

    The Magi had a dream. They dreamed of a Messiah. They dreamed of just rulers. They dreamed of a new day for all people.

    The Magi had a dream, and this dream led them to action. They journeyed to unknown places. They followed a star. They walked for days to get to Jesus.

    So may we be like the Magi. May our dreams inspire action. ---Sanctifiedart.org

    OFFERING Chant du Berger (Shepherd Song) Gustav Merkel (1827-1885)



    Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below: Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


    If we were to list the miracles of Christmas, we’d probably talk about virgin births, angels perhaps, and stars that light the sky. But perhaps there’s another miracle: one of Mary saying ‘yes’ when God asked her to believe and Joseph saying ‘yes’ when God asked him to trust.

    They had to change everything about their lives and the birth of the Christ-child wasn’t possible until they did.

    What does it mean for you to say ‘yes’ to this story? -- to believe that it might be possible for the darkness to be transformed to light and for peace to come in the world?

    Those who know the darkest of the world know the fragility of light; we hold our breath as the candles flicker, we know they don’t always last. The birth of Jesus doesn’t make everything right but it shows us that the only way the darkness can be beaten is to say ‘yes’ to the birth of light.

  • In the silence, we pray for those we love and miss today and we pray for a broken world…

    [Time of silence,]

    God, this is the season for miracles and we pray for one today.

    Where there is sorrow, we pray for your grace to light the darkness.

    Where there is despair, we pray for your hope to light the darkness.

    Where there is hatred, we pray for your forgiveness to light the darkness.

    Where there is war, we pray for your love to light the darkness.

    Where there is confusion, we pray for your peace to light the darkness.

    Where there is injustice, we pray for your courage to light the darkness.

    Where there is fear, we pray for your joy to light the darkness.

    It is the season for miracles and we pray for one today: Come, Lord Jesus, may your light come into our world. Amen. —Cheryl Lawrie, http://holdthisspace.org.au/

    CLOSING CAROL In the Bleak Midwinter

    Music: CRANHAM, Gustav Holst, 1874-1934 Words: Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894. Public Domain.

    BENEDICTION Pastor White

    POSTLUDE Noel: Où S’en vont Ces Gais Bergers Claude Balbastre (1724-1799) (Where are these gay shepherds going)

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    Serving in Worship

    Rev. Dr. Jonathan White, Interim Senior Pastor Rev. Ruth Bell Olsson, Interim Associate Pastor

    Dr. Julia Brown, Director of Music/Organist Ben Zuzelski, Abby Brooks, Scott Bosscher, Josh Ledesma, Cantors

    Amahl and the Night Visitors By Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)

    The production is a collaboration between Mayflower Congregational Church and Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys

    By arrangement with G. Schirmer, INC., publisher and copyright owner Recorded October and November 2020, Mayflower Congregational Church, Grand Rapids

    This project was made possible by: Van Dore Music Fund: rental and purchase of scores

    A grant from the Brookby Foundation: Grand Rapids Symphony musicians

    Participants Julia Brown, Director of Music, Mayflower Congregational Church

    Scott Bosscher, Choir Director of Mayflower Congregational Church and Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys

    Amahl: Ben Zuzelski

    Mother: Emily Smith

    Kaspar: William Potts

    Melchior: William Bokhout

    Balthazar: Joshua Ledesma

    Page: Ryan Potts

    Mayflower Chancel Choir, Scott Bosscher, DirectorSoprano

    Abby BrooksKristi Burghart

    Anne Marie ChurchErin GilbertEmily Smith

    AltoLinda ChaffeeJana DeShaneTanya Freund

    Melissa GilbertBarbara Hohman

    Deb LarsonAxelle Pelfrêne

    Sally RobsonPatricia Sienstra

    TenorGreg Barry Bill Potts

    Ryan Potts

    BassChris EdgarPhil Idema

    Joshua LedesmaCoby MartinBob Riddle

    Quincey SmailRob Van Patten

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    Cecily BurghartHarper CooleyColette Hages

    William KemppainenSydney LovellClaire Mieras

    Alice PelfrêneDiane Pelfrêne

    Anna Jane SchuttClaire SchuttBella Stares

    Tallulah Stares

    Jackson CooleyCaroline Grin

    Catherine GrinEmily Grin

    Elizabeth GrinSamantha LovellKelly McMahon

    Mayflower Children’s Christmas Chorus (grades 3-5); Abby Brooks, Director

    Mayflower Youth Christmas Chorus (grades 6-12); Joshua Ledesma, Director

    Megan Crawford, Violin Linda Nelson, Violin

    Leslie Van Becker, ViolaWill Preece, Cello

    Michael Hovnanian, Bass

    Ed Clifford, FluteEllen Sherman, OboeSarah Peterson, Oboe Beth Colpean, Harp

    Jack Latta, PercussionJulia Brown, Piano

    Musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra

    Worth Hages, Choreography

    Sydney Lovell, Anna Jane Schutt and Diane Pelfrêne, Dancers

    Alex Petty, Production

    www.MayflowerChurch.org2345 Robinson Road, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 - 616-459-6255

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    PROGRAM NOTES:After switching to all online services in March, we felt the need to offer a Christmas Cantata that was equally musical as well as visual to fully engage our Mayflower family and reach far into the community.

    With Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, we have an opportunity to collaborate on many levels. First and foremost, the sweet, innocent, compelling voice of Amahl, sung by Ben Zuzelski, a senior chorister from the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys. The remaining roles are all beautifully sung by current and former Chancel Choir section leaders. With a generous grant from the Brookby Foundation, we were able to hire musicians from the Grand Rapids Symphony. With the support of the Van Dore Music Fund, we purchased scores and procured copyright permissions.

    Most inspiring and gratifying is the way in which all our choirs believed in this project and were willing to learn, sing and record in a completely new way. Children learned the music outdoors on the front steps, Chancel choir attended Zoom rehearsals, youth found a hybrid method. We all traveled this path with open hearts, patience and grace. Scott, who has directed this work many times, led with confidence and a deep understanding of the story’s message. Combining all the elements: lighting, staging, videography, sound recording, editing, formatting, and final production, is Alex Petty.

    I am grateful to parents of children and youth, custodians, colleagues, and everyone who was impacted by the many weeks of preparation and recording. Thank you for your support and encouragement. ~ Julia

    SYNOPSIS:Amahl was the first opera ever written specifically for TV in 1951, by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007). The music and story come from the heart, opening the window for both singer and listener alike to experience the unbounded love that God has for each of us.

    The story is set on the first Christmas Eve. The three kings, weary from their long journey following the star, come upon a small shepherd’s hut to find there a poor mother and her 10 year-old crippled son. Having sold off their sheep and goats, they now have nothing and have gone to bed hungry not knowing how they will face tomorrow. Having nothing to offer the kings, Amahl invites all the other shepherd families to come and bring food for the royal visitors. Later that night after all have gone to sleep, Amahl’s mother asks herself why the kings would bring a gift of gold to a child they don’t even know…and she decides to steal it to feed her child. She is caught and severely scolded by the kings until they realize how desperate this mother and son are and tell her to keep the gold. They explain to her that the child they seek doesn’t need gold because he created the entire world and is coming to build his kingdom with love. At that point Amahl’s mom gives back the gold and Amahl says “Let me give my crutch to the kings as a gift for the child because he may be crippled too and need it.” At that moment Amahl takes the very first unaided steps of his life…he can walk, he has been healed.

    In the tradition of the medieval miracle plays, Christ, being only an hour old, is already healing the world of its brokenness and hurt.

    This story is the story of what Christ came into the world to do. It is the Christmas story. And the music…the music is some of the most tender and beautiful ever written, often heart-wrenching, sometimes playful and ultimately filled with hope. ~ Scott