By Lissa Werson
This Easter, the American Red Cross, together with the interfaith community of Northern California, is celebrating the gift of life.
This joyful effort of the interfaith community was barely imagined a few years ago. Now, the beautiful music and sense of giving within the community has taken hold, fostering friendships among the churches and throughout the community. All it took was an invitation.
Archbishop Cordileone first suggested holding an interfaith concert that resulted in “Lamb of God.” In 2011, then Bishop Cordileone of the Oakland Diocese met with leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to suggest that the two groups work together on an interfaith service project.
It was decided in that meeting to conduct an East Bay Interfaith Blood Drive. That began a tradition that has resulted in one of the largest faith-based blood drives in the U.S. for the American Red Cross.
This is the fourth year of that blood drive, which usually happens in July and August and now includes faith-based organizations throughout the Bay Area. In that first year, Bishop Cordileone requested an event to kick off the blood drive.
An Easter concert was suggested to connect the gift of blood to the community with an event that also honors the gift of the life through Jesus Christ. “Lamb of God” has since become a wonderful Easter season tradition.
Rob Gardner’s “Lamb of God” is a modern masterpiece that brings the story and meaning of Easter alive. The songs tell the story of the final days of Christ’s life leading to the Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection.
The story unfolds through the eyes of his followers, including Peter, John, Mary the Mother, and Martha. When writing the music, Mr. Gardner knew that he did not want someone on the stage physically portraying the part of Jesus.
Instead, the cello soloist is used to represent Christ. The voice of the cello becomes the actions and words of Jesus. The style of the oratorio is somewhat similar to the ensemble style of the music of Les Mis.
Admission is free with a ticket from www.templehillevents.com/
Shows are at the Oakland Temple Hill Auditorium Saturday Matinee, April 19 (2 p.m.), Saturday evening, April 19 (7 p.m.) and Easter Sunday, April 20 (7 p.m.).