Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Diary of a ghetto priest | 'Moses' - God’s gift of Love

Published:Friday | September 30, 2016 | 9:06 AMFather Richard Ho Lung
From left: Zipporah (Marsha Jarrett) and Moses (Wynton Williams) in a scene from the production at the National Arena in Kingston.

Rewriting Moses has been a joy. Today when I watched over 6,000 students shouting and yelling for freedom and justice, I felt that the National Arena had become a temple of God. In our first five days, I could feel the thousands come alive with the presentation of that great patriarch, Moses on stage. Some shows were for the schoolers, some were for the family, all were singing, dancing and, following each line of the musical drama, and the plot unfolding as Moses, the great hero, fought for his true identity even while battling for Israel’s freedom.

It has been about 20 original productions the Lord has given me over the years. Starting with the Creative Arts Centre, moving on to the Little Theater, and now expanding to the National Arena. I give thanks to God for all. Aside from that are Liturgical songs (for church), concerts, as well as three operas and musical dramas. All this has been done over a span of 45 years. It has taken the group and myself to Canada, the Caribbean Islands, many States in the United States, Germany, England, Brazil, and the Philippines. It’s given by the Lord, I am just a mere instrument in the hand of the Lord. Brothers tell me they have found more than 600 musical compositions in my cupboard. All those songs for the most part, not purposefully written. I simply know that I hear and feel music and lyrics in my heart even in my dreams, and I give way to them because they want to be born, and not wasted.

MORE TRUTH AND REALITY

Sometimes I am purposeful. That is what happened to Moses, first written in 2004. Looking back, I realised that the story needed more truth and reality to it. I needed to pour out myself and my life into the character of Moses and bring out the conflicts between human sinfulness and the great call of God to be a heroic, God-fearing, loving people.

This time around, new music emerged such as Shame on Me, Happiness Is, The Pestilences, The Journey, God and Moses. The script and plot needed to be more direct and true to my artistic intention, which is to evangelise about my one true love and reality, the good Lord Himself, my community, and the poor.

I have been truly amazed by the thousands who have come to the shows. God had planned for the service of the poor and destitute, and my beloved sons, the Missionaries of the Poor. They need to be fed, clothed, housed, and the Kingdom of God needed be seen visibly all over the world. Thus He gave me the music and drama, both are purely gratuitous on His part.

The poor in India, the Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia, East Timor, Jamaica and Haiti are who have brought me life and purpose. In them I found Christ, and, the music flowed.

EPIC PRODUCTION

Here we are in the Midst of Moses! I am bowed over with a sense of intense joy, even tears. Despite my inadequacies as an artist and as a person, the Lord has made me enact His will. I look at the grand, epic production; the magnificent singers, dancers, actors, musicians, and the full audiences in performance after performance.

“The Lord has done great things to me!”

This is what the public seems to be saying. I received news from PJ Stewart that a friend of hers sent the following email: “Just had to call or drop you a line to tell you I was absolutely blown away by the production of Moses last night. Wow – what a performance – what incredible actors, incredible voices, incredible costumes, and an incredible set! So much work, but you must get a very special kind of joy doing it. It’s no wonder you can’t leave! ... and you can’t! I came away wishing I could take the entire production to Broadway or to London – it’s that good. It’s wonderful to have this level of theatre in Jamaica, and at such a reasonable price, where so many can appreciate it. Congratulations to all of you who are so dedicated to MOP.”

That’s so encouraging for the entire cast and myself. They have spent hundreds of hours in perfecting and making real the new script of Moses. Many thousands of others will be brought to Christ through Moses at the National Arena this weekend, and, drink of God’s living waters.

The show closes this week-end. It’s the Lord’s gift and my gift to you.