Warner Robins church’s play focuses on Joseph’s role in Christmas story

Sun News correspondentDecember 5, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- Wondering what the first Christmas was like for Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, resulted in Tim Jacobsmeyer writing a musical about it.

Jacobsmeyer is music director at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church on Carl Vinson Parkway.

The church will perform the musical Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free but must be reserved to ensure seating by calling the church at 922-1418 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. An offering will be taken to help cover expenses.

“The Bible gives guidelines for Joseph but not much,” Jacobsmeyer said. “It says he was a just man and being a carpenter, he was probably hard-working and practical. It was more difficult in his day to get wood into the shape you wanted so I figured he was someone who liked to have a good, carefully made plan. But in the Bible, you see Joseph’s plans don’t go as he expects. The first song in the musical is Joseph singing ‘You Gotta’ Have a Plan.’”

Jacobsmeyer said the drama’s theme centers on what happens when Joseph’s plans for life get overridden by someone else’s plans.

He said the play also focuses on Joseph’s faith.

“Everybody else had pretty rock-solid evidence that this baby, that Jesus, was to be the Messiah,” Jacobsmeyer said. “Mary had an angel speak to her, the wise men had their star, the shepherds had lots of angels telling them -- everybody had pretty good proof but Joseph. He only had dreams. Still, he was faithful when things seemed a total mess. He remained faithful and was used for a great purpose. Joseph was kind of in the same boat as us today who go by faith rather than sight. Even in times of doubt Joseph is faithful. But just when he has things figured out after Jesus’ birth, something else happens. When he thinks he could use all the gold, frankincense and myrrh given to Jesus to plan a new life, he has a dream and they have to use it to escape to Egypt.”

Jacobsmeyer said he couldn’t help but fill the story with humor as well as its more weighty aspects.

“I think the emotions keep changing throughout -- lots of hilarity and pathos,” he said. “There are all kinds of musical styles and Caesar Augustus gets to do sort of a rap song. The offering is taken in a most unusual way.”

Though it’s the first time Jacobsmeyer is performing the musical with Mount Calvary, the drama isn’t new, nor is it the first time Mount Calvary has performed it. Jacobsmeyer said “Rough Wood and Rusty Nails” was written in 1991 and he’s been fine-tuning and tweaking it ever since.

“It’s been performed by a number of churches and a couple of times here,” he said. “I’ll be playing Joseph; I do when I’m around because it’s a lot of work to learn the part. When trying to write it, I thought how Joseph spent his life on wood and the light went on that Jesus spent his life on wood too, on the wood of the cross. He was born and laid in the rough wood and rusty nails of a manger and gave his life on the rough wood and rusty nails of the cross. The whole story connects with Jesus’ victory over death.”

Jacobsmeyer, who’s been at Mount Calvary for just more than a year, said all facets of the production are being done by church members from sets to cast. He said there are about 60 cast members.

“We have a lot of people doing all kinds of things and there are some pretty amazing singers at Mount Calvary,” he said. “It’s drawing us together as something that works across generational lines rather than dividing us up by age. Toli Van Buskirk is playing Mary with her 3-month-old son Jude as baby Jesus. No matter what, Jude will carry the show, I’m sure.”

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