The Resurrection of Jesus

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and the Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bough spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when they sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell the disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galiee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”- Mark 16:1-8

For class, I have to do a biblical analysis and pick one from the list of passages the teacher provided. I decided to do the resurrection of Jesus because it is an interesting passage. I know what the resurrection is, but I hope learning about it will give me more insight in the importance of it. I know that Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day. The resurrection account is one of the most important parts of being a Christian. It is important to know why Jesus is the Messiah and why he plays such an important part in our lives.

One of the things I love about working on this blog is realizing how much spirit I have. I am a strong spiritual person and have a close relationship with God. By seeing him through nature and music, I know my spirituality will continue to grow. This blog is helping me see how much I really do know about Christ. Some of the passages I talked about are related to sermons I heard during our student-led worship service. Some are related to things I saw in nature.

Seeing God in unexpected ways

God can speak to people in many ways. But has he ever showed up in a way that did not seem possible. That happened to me yesterday at school. Gardner Webb was under a tornado watch yesterday and it was very very windy. I just did not want to leave my room at all. After  I finally left, I saw a rainbow in the sky, which was not excepted during a tornado watch. It wasn’t really raining and if there wasn’t much rain, how can there be a rainbow in the sky. Rainbows are a sign of God because people do see rainbows that often.

So God does like to work with you in mysterious ways. Sometimes you do not know what is God’s doing and what is your own. That is usually difficult to know, but sometimes you just know. If you just happen to see a rainbow in the sky, than it is a sign from God. Seeing signs such as rainbows helps you see God’s creation better. The same goes for the sun shining through clouds and beautiful sunsets. There are times in your life where you feel like something is meant to happen. Those moments are God’s doing, but it usually is your doing of getting you to that particular moment. God works through everyone each and every day because we are made in his image, which means all humans have a bit of his spirit deep within each of us. That spirit needs to be filled with God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion in order to become a strong spiritual person. It allows us to become closer to God. Sometimes God like to work through us in our weaknesses and our emotional scars we have to battle each and every day. Some people are more broken than others and need to find a way out. People who are very broken sometimes can feel like God is ignoring them when reality he is staying with them. He is the main reason why humans manage to thrive and why it is important to have a close relationship with him.

Through experience, I know how hard it is to know if God is listening to your prayers or not. But everyone can continue to strengthen their relationship God from the start to the end of their life. That can be accomplished through giving back to those in need or being out in nature. I am a very strong spiritual person who connects to nature and Christian music and those two things make me feel close to God. I also feel close to God through writing down my prayers. That seems to be the only way he listens to what I am asking of him.

Life of the Tragic Musicals

Even though they are still fresh, they have been an important addition to the world of musicals. Some have become a meaningful part of life and one has sort of kind of been a part of my life. It is hard to describe what they added to the world of musicals. They have only been part of my life for four years. Understanding their importance takes a lot of work.

The most meaningful tragic musical of my life is “Les Mis”. I have just loved my journey of that musical. It started four years ago and has changed my perspective on musical theatre. It is an epic, powerful, inspirational, emotionally-moving musical. It has a unique way to touch the soul at a very deep level, which is why the experience is so hard to describe. This musical taught me to love tragedies. I did not want tragedies to become a part of my life and did not want them to be part of musicals. I had gotten so used to the all comic world that I did not want anything to change. But “Les Mis” has impacted me in ways that I have a hard time describing them. Because the emotions of that musical are very strong and powerful, it has allowed the emotions in the other musicals to grow. “Les Mis” takes you through so many emotions and by the  end, you feel uplifted because it is a story of humanity, love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, hope, and redemption. It may be filled with broken dreams, unrequited love, prostitution, misery, and death, but it is so much more.

The musical teaches you how you can change and impact other peoples lives. It is filled with brilliant songs that are designed for the soul. Even the storyline is for the soul and shows you a side of musicals you would not have thought possible. I thought musicals could never have so many emotions or be that powerful. Describing the score is so difficult because they connect me so much to the characters and make me laugh and cry. I have an obsession with the musical and I have no idea why. I understand why it is the sensation that it is.

There is something in it for everyone because there is something everyone can connect and relate to. I relate to the spirituality of the show because I have a strong spirituality. On top of that, I have a deep connection to those less fortunate than I. I love seeing how the characters change over time especially Jean Valjean. It is nice to see how a ex-convict can grow above exceptions. He grew into a compassionate, good-hearted, spiritual, saint-like man despite his criminal background. Besides Valjean, I also love the characters of young Cosette, Fantine,  Gavroche, Enjorlas, and Eponine. I especially love Eponine and I have no idea why I am growing an attachment to her. I am listening to “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain” more often and I have no idea why. The thing I love about Eponine is how she somehow does not grow up to be like her parents and how her love for Marius made her a better person despite the love being unrequited. The other characters mange to thrive as well, despite everything they had to face.

During a period of four years, I have seen the stage show four times, watched the movie several times, and seen the 25th anniversary concert a couple of times. The best experience I had with “Les Mis” was when I saw the stage show in London last year and it was the best cast I ever saw and truly showed the power of all the different songs. Before seeing it in London, I never cared about Javert’s fate, but the actor was so effective in his role that by the time Javert sang his soliloquy, I cared, but I still do not like the character.

I found a new emotion in Eponine and felt more heartbroken for Fantine. The seats mom and I had were incredible because they were only nine rows back from the stage. I met the actor who played Valjean and he was the understudy.  I have read the abridged and the unabridged version of the book. The unabridged was more rewarding because I was able to finish it in less than one summer, which was the same summer I saw the show in London.

The unabridged made the musical better because it truly showed how inspirational the musical is and why the musical is filled with all the emotions it has. It made me feel deeper for the character of Fantine and helped me care a little bit for Javert. I also have a page to screen book. I know about the history of France in 19th Century and Victor Hugo. This obsession has truly changed what musicals mean to me. It turned a love into a passion and becomes stronger each time I see it. If it wasn’t for Victor’s Hugo’s wonderful book, it would  not have been as successful. He wrote a storyline that is meant for the soul and makes you care about the characters.The songs in the musical allow you to want to go on the character’s journeys. The musical just makes the storyline even better because of the amazing truth and realism behind the emotional songs. In fact, I hope to see the show in another language especially Spanish.

Thinking of “Les Mis”, there is a tragic musical that I know of that has a strong bond with “Les Mis”. That would be “Miss Saigon”, a tragic love story based off of Madame Butterfly. I barely know the show, but I am interested in knowing why the two are so connected. I did learn they are written by the same musical team. They both happen to be sung-through and tragic.I was trying to stay away from the songs when I found out about the musical in 2014. But I recently listened to two of the songs and fell in love with them. In some ways, this musical gives hope for the future of tragic musicals. Because I know if its existence, it helps. The musical is not meaningful yet because I have not see it yet at all. But if you put the word tragic in front of love story, the ending becomes too predictable.

Another sad musical is “Rent”. I fell in love with it in 2012 through the music. I already loved “Seasons of Love” because I heard it when I was younger, but did not know it was from musical. That made sense because of its adult themes in it which are very controversial. I love its message of living every moment as if its your last. It is sung through as well. The topics in this musical do not bother me that much because I learned to accept all humans no matter what. I have never seen it live, but seen a filmed version of the stage show. That was the last performance the show had on Broadway and I loved that particular production and am glad I got to somehow experience it.

Now on to the tragic musical that I do not like bringing up. It is “West Side Story”, the musical based off of “Romeo and Juliet”. I always had a hard time with that musical just because of what it is based of. Even after falling in love with a tragedy, I still ignored it and did not want to become part of my life. I soon had no choice but to see the movie in 2014 and I realized I liked it more than I originally thought. It was great, but there was nothing special about it. But I liked the music enough to buy the soundtrack later that year. As time went on, I started to love the songs more and more. It has two very addicting songs, which are “Somewhere” and “One Hand, One Heart”. Now I find some of them addicting and want to see the stage show. It is drawn through the dance and want to see how the dance works on stage. It has always been stuck between loving it and liking it. I always had a hard time deciding if I like it or love it. All this show wants is be included and accepted.

Overall, these tragedies have changed my perspective on musicals. They have helped strengthen the comedies. They have made the negative emotions more visible in the comedies. Those tragedies may still be so fresh, but I am so glad they became a part of my life. It really is “Les Mis” that had the most impact because of the strength it has given me and how it has taught me to love tragedies.I want them to continue to grow but musicals will remain mostly comic. I hope I can develop a love for “West Side Story” eventually and want to eventually see “Miss Saigon” in order to understand the bond it has for “Les Mis”.

Something I find interesting about tragic musicals is that most of them as of right now are sung-through. I wonder why that is the case, but I feel as if most are done that way because it as of now is probably the best way to portray a tragic musical. However “West Side Story” is drawn through the dance and still manages to bring out the best of the musical. I only saw the movie and did not fully pay attention the dance because I saw the movie reluctantly. But I do want to see the stage show live because I feel as if the dance will be more effective on stage.

It is hard to understand this, but the comedies and the tragedies rely on each other so much. If it was not for the comedies, I do not think I would have been able to learn to love the tragedies. The tragedies helped unlock the dark side of comedies. I know that is crazy to say, but the comedies did teach me that sad is a core emotion, but what I did not know is that the emotion can be really powerful, deep, and strong. There are times when I wish all musicals were comedies again, but than I realize what the tragedies have added to the world of musicals. I was able to realize the beauty for what the tragedies are. They want to truly become a part of musical theatre and I understand why. It just still feel like yesterday when all musicals were comedies. Discovering tragedy in high school, I was hoping a musical would not go that route, but I am glad they did.

The Dark Side of Comedies

This will be quite an interesting post. At first, I did not realize that there was a dark side to the comic musicals. Growing up I did not notice the dark side at all, but I did know about the emotion of sad. I think that it is because I was younger and would not be able understand the darkness of musicals. In addition, I was only connected to one sad song and that emotion was growing at a snail’s pace.

Comedies do a good job of hiding up the dark side, which makes it easier for people of all ages to enjoy musicals.I soon discovered the dark side of comedies, which was after the tragic musicals started to become part of my life. After those musicals, I soon saw more of the negative emotions in the comedies.

The dark side of comedies deals with elements such as unrequited love, animal abuse, death, racism and discrimination. It is hard to understand why a comedy will have all of these elements because comedies are supposed to be funny and filled with entertainment. But the dark elements of comic musicals makes characters more interesting. The most interesting musical characters go on a very vulnerable and emotional journey.

(Minor Spoiler Alert): One of the comedies has a tragic love story in it, which would be “South Pacific”. One of the main themes in “South Pacific” is racism and it clearly shows through the two main love stories. In fact, that show easily could have been a tragedy. It seemed like it at first especially after Nellie left the one she loved and Emelie went on a very dangerous mission. They are the main love story in the musical and if Emelie was not rescued, the musical would have been a double tragic love story. The other love story is tragic because it does end with death of one of the characters.Besides the one in “South Pacific”, there are other comic musicals that have death in it which includes “Lion King” and “Oklahoma”. Death is an odd concept to have in a comedy, but it is present.

I like having darkness in comic musicals because it helps add texture. If “Wicked” did not have the love triangle,  it would not be the same. On top of the love triangle, there is lots of discrimination and animal abuse, which is not really thought of. When I watch “Wicked”, I mainly think about the friendship between Glinda and Elphaba. The love triangle is quite complicated in “Wicked”, but I love the way it develops. Growing up I used to hate “No Good Deed” from “Wicked” because I never clearly understood it and I did not really connect to it even though I connected and related to Elphaba so much. But after seeing the show a fourth time, I finally loved the song because I was able to see the song for what it was.It become an important song for once and I could find a lot of anger and frustration in the song because I finally connected to the song. Characters are much more interesting if you see them go through positive and negative emotions. I prefer those musicals more than the ones that have no darkness at all. If “Lion King” did not have death in it, the show would have been able to reflect its theme of “Circle of Life” and Simba may not have been able to have as emotional as a journey.

There is nothing wrong with the negative emotions in musicals because those emotions make a character real and it makes it easier to connect with them. Recently I had to learn to work with a tragicomic character and I did not know how to handle that idea. It was Don Quixote from “Man of La Mancha” and I soon realized I know more about what makes a character tragic than what makes a character comic, which surprised me. I am so used to comic and tragic elements coming together separately, but not in one character. To figure out what makes a musical character both is knowing what makes a character comic and what makes a character tragic and see how to fuse the two ideas together. “Man of La Mancha” is a musical comedy with Don Quixote, but I am thankful for that because it tested my knowledge of comic and tragic characters.

I am so glad that I was able to unlock the darkness of comedies. I may not have been able to find it if is was not for the tragic musicals. As of right now, there are not many of the tragic musicals, but they have such a large impact on the comedies. That is similar to how the tragedies rely on the comedies.I find it interesting how the happy and sad musicals work together in order to allow musicals to be capable of so many things. It is hard to describe how joy is always with you even if you are feeling sad or heartbroken. Because comedies have tragic elements, there is an even amount of comic and tragic elements in musicals.

Before the tragic musicals, I was aware sad was one of the core emotions. Because I was aware of sad in comic musicals, it helped me get used to sad in tragedies. I already accepted the emotion even though I was only connected to one sad song. I love that most musicals are comedies because it allows them to be accessible to people of all ages including kids.

Musical Capability

It is very difficult to describe what a musical is capable of because they are always changing even if you are not aware of them. I only know this because of experience and I am aware of how the emotions can change over time and get stronger and deeper. I have an idea of what a musical should be like, but at the same time I do not mind if a show is quite different than what I have in mind. In my mind, a musical should be a comedy with spectacle, dance, and positive and negative emotions. That was my view growing up because that was all I basically knew. Sometimes you know more about an emotion that you think you know and sometimes know more about a character than you think you know.

As far as the emotions are concerned, the main emotions are joy, love, and sad. The other emotions sprout from them. Those emotions are at the center of musicals and growing up I was aware of how stronger joy and love were than sad. Sad was just that emotion that had to develop at a snail’s pace and I was happy that it was a very basic emotion and was felt at the surface. However, I was connected to sad just through one song and that was “I’m Not That Girl” from “Wicked”. “Wicked” was that musical that started everything. It was the first show I saw on Broadway and was the show when the emotions started mattering to me. It was the moment when I started to accept sad as an emotion. Soon everything I knew about musicals was about to be tested.

It is hard to describe what the biggest change in musicals has been in the college years. Some of the differences are more obvious than then others. The comedies had to go through a lot of changes because growing up all musicals were comedies. I wanted musicals to stay that way. I called all musicals happy and full of life. But I realized I had to change what all musicals were. It surprised me when those comedies had to change to most musicals just because of tragic musicals. I was bit shocked that tragic musicals actually existed, but they added so much to what a musical is capable of.

The tragic musical that had the most impact on my life was “Les Mis”. That musical changed everything and taught me a lot. It showed me to love tragedy and that tragedies are more than just being sad. It taught me you should never judge a show based off of genre and that plot mattered more. “Les Mis” changed my perspective on musicals because it tested everything that I thought I knew about musicals.  It showed how a musical can still be incredible without all the different spectacle and dance. It is just not one of those musicals because it experiments with elements that are not traditionally associated with musicals.

The score of “Les Mis” is quite different as well. The score inspires me and takes you through so many emotions ranging from excitement to uplifting to love to hope to heartbreak to fear to anger to depressing.  “Phantom of the Opera” also tested what I knew about musical scores. Both “Phantom” and “Les Mis” have scores that are quite different than a lot of musicals. “Phantom” has an emotion that is not usually part of other musicals and that emotion would be haunting and the songs are not very high energy.

Because of shows like “Les Mis”, I had to find a new way to describe all musicals. I wanted to stay true to the comedies that I grow up with and not leave out the tragedies. I knew it would be harder than I thought to come up with something. I ended up replacing happy with joyful because I looked to the experience and tried to see if the sad musicals had a positive nature of it. Now I describe all musicals as joyful, emotional, unique, and full of life. Full of life used to represent a certain kind of song, but I soon realized all songs are full of life because the story comes alive when you see a musical. Songs are even full of life when the song is about death.

Emotional clearly works because the emotions are all over the place and range from show to show and even if you see the same musical more than once, new emotions will enter and some will leave, but the main ones will remain. Unique is fitting because all musicals are different from each other even if some are not that different from others. “Les Mis” and “Phantom” prove this because of how quite different they are. Some people think musicals are very unrealistic, but I do not think they are. Just because people break out into song in musicals does not mean the show in unrealistic. I have nothing wrong with the spectacle as well because it adds to the experience and transports you to the where a show takes place. Musicals are a wonderful mixture of comic and tragic elements, which are present in both happy and sad musicals.

Musicals are very special to me because they truly taught me empathy. One of the musical characters is a role model to me because I admire her strength despite all the discrimination she faces. The fact that Elphaba and I share a lot in common, it allows me to connect to her story. I cannot relate to everything about her but I admire how strong she is.  Characters are all over the place in musicals because they have different lives and go through different things. While some have harder lives than others and while some have easier lives, it is nice having a mixture. There are more to comic characters than I have had thought. Some of the comic characters like Glinda have hurt and pain in their lives and play such an important part of the storyline.

Than there are the tragic characters, and those characters can be even harder to understand, but in a way they are easier to develop an empathy for. Some of my favorite musical characters are tragic, but it is sad and heartbreaking to see what they had to go through. But I care about them and want to feel their pain and hurt because it makes me feel like I am part of the show. Besides Elphaba, I love many other characters as well such as Glinda, Fiyero, Eponine, Enjorlas and Jean Valjean. Another thing to mention is that sometimes unexpected characters show up. That would be the character of Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha” because he is both tragic and comic, which sounds unusual for a character and quite odd. I had gotten so used to tragic and comic elements coming together as separately but never in the same character. To understand that, I clearly had to understand what it means to be a comic character and what it means to be a tragic character. Surprisingly I understood more clearly what it means to be a tragic character, which made no sense to me at all.

Overall my vision of a musical is that it must have a storyline and songs that I connect to. I want a musical score to move me and I prefer a score that has both positive and negative emotions because those scores add so much texture and emotions to the experience. Shows that have positive and negative emotions are the most human and are mainly present in shows that have multilayered characters along with a plot. I want to feel the emotions and at the same time have a connection to the material. I understand now why musicals are capable of more than you think because you never know when something out of the blue happens. Certain kinds of spectacle and dance can appear which can surprise you. One example is through “Pippin” because it shows a kind of spectacle that I never thought possible, which would be circus and the audience is asked to sing along to one of the songs. Musicals are capable of more emotions than I believed and I discovered that recently and I am so thankful for the changes that took place recently. Not only did old emotions strengthen and deepen, new emotions started to appear. Some of those new emotions are just layers of emotions that already existed.

At the very heart of musicals are the emotions of joy, love, and sad. Earlier I said that the other emotions sprout from them and that joy and love are stronger than sad. That is true and I have a good reason for saying so. For instance, excitement is a kind of joy that is always present. Excitement is always the initial emotion due to the overture. The initial emotion is what would drive the rest of the show. Love is harder to explain what emotions sprout from it, but I do understand there are different types of love in musicals. They range from friend love, parent love, country love, and the most obvious romantic love-which includes unrequited love. The fact that unrequited love exists in musicals shows why love connects to sad. Because unrequited love is very painful and heartbreaking, than it shows that there is sadness in love.

However the strongest kind of love in musicals is the love a fan has of the show. The love and joy that a shows gives you is the strongest emotion and it is the emotion that allows you to appreciate the different emotions. The emotions in a musical must all work with each other to truly become something unique and must feel like they belong in the same show. Sad is an emotion that grows slower than joy and love, but it is quite an unique emotion. It seems like it is the most layered and complex emotion, but it is not. Joy is more layered than sad is because joy is the emotion that allows sad to be appreciated.

Growing up, sad was very limited and for a lack of better words-“weak”. It was like it did not want to truly become a musical emotion but at least I had kind of a connection to it. That emotion just decided to explode when I fell in love with “Les Mis”. All because of that musical, sad become much more real and more empathetic. Sad is a very beautiful emotion and somehow manages to inspire you and draws you into the show. Heartbreak is the main source of sad in musicals in my opinion, which is a huge part of “Les Mis” because it is a heartbreaking musical, but at the same time is so uplifting. Understanding how joy, love, and sad work with each other in musicals is so complicated. Some shows just do not sad as an emotion that much while others do.

In the future, I want most musicals to stay comedies. In addition, I want more tragic musicals to exist. I love the mixture because having both adds so much truth and depth to what a musical is capable of. But the most important aspect of musical is connecting to the material through song. Even though I love the dance and spectacle world, I still want to see musicals that may not have those elements.

The nontraditional musicals makes you think of musical in a fresh light and teaches you how you can still love a musical even if elements such as dance and spectacle do not exist.To wrap things up, I am glad musicals have become what they are. All because of the introduction of tragic musicals, comedies are more developed and the emotions have become more meaningful because of it. Understanding musicals a whole means understanding the impact of both and they rely on each other in ways that I never would have thought possible. They bond through joy and excitement and that is a special thing. It is difficult loving the tragic musicals but they are so worth it.

Growing Spiritually in College

Being at Gardner Webb has allowed me to grow emotionally and spiritually. I have never fully thought why college has helped me to grow so much, but I know I am changing and becoming a better person. It is easier to explain why I have grown spiritually during the college years.

I think that is partially because I am at a Christian university. The community is amazing and we support each other. Gardner Webb is big on service, which helps you grow spiritually and emotionally. In addition, it is home to the most gorgeous sunsets, which reminds me that God will guide me through the struggles and stress of college. I attend their student-led worship service every week and it helps me grow spiritually. The songs we sing allow me to feel the energy of the Lord and through the youthful voices I hear, you can feel God’s energy through the entire room. I am able to listen to the sermons without getting bored because they interest. Gardner Webb has allowed me to read my bible more often especially because there are classes that require me to read the bible. I recently played a diner patron at the Opera and before each show, we prayed for a good performance. Even at the beginning of the semester, teachers also ask if they can pray for the class.

I think people grow each and every day. Even though at times I don’t why I am maturing in college, I know it is happening. I have become more open-minded and am more willing to try new things even if it is outside of my comfort zone. Living at college has also allowed me to change. I am glad I am the person that I am and I am glad that I becoming a better person each and every day. I am a highly spiritual person, but that strong spirituality will continue to grow. It has allowed me to thrive at college and I will always know that God will help me survive the burden of college. God will always be there and will tell you that you are not alone in your struggles. I know I heading on the right path to my future. Trusting in the Lord makes things easier to accomplish even if it still takes a lot of handwork.

I have no idea why I have grown emotionally in college, but I think growing emotionally and spiritually are connected. Becoming a more spiritual person allows you to grow emotionally. Spirituality is something we can feel and sense, which can inspire and uplift us. College can be tough which can pull us down, but the Lord will help pull you back up. When we are having a rough day, the best day to get through it is to stay strong and trust that the Lord is always with you no matter what.

Parable of the Two Sons

“A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go,sir; but he did not go. Which of the two do the will of his father:” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believed him. -Matthew 21:28-32

What is this parable saying? At last night’s student-led worship service, this parable was talked about. It is said that too many people are like the second son because we do not always do what God asks of us. A lot of times people try to run from and are scared to do what God calls of them. We always try to make excuses and as a college student, it is easy to do. A college can always say “I have too much studying” and “I do not have time”. We cannot stay surrounded by our comfort zone because that is not what God wants us to do. Christianity is not about us; instead it is about serving God and doing what he asks of us. We need to stay faithful to him no matter what. Just like the second son, we say we will do something, but we end up not doing it. We need to be more like the first son who did what his father asked of him.