This musical premiered at the USA Western Territory Centennial Congress, Sunday, 5 June 1983.
“Son of Man! is the eighth musical to be written by the Gowans and Larsson team and was especially commissioned for the Western Centennial Congress. While some of the musicals have been thought to have a limited appeal because of their strictly salvationist content, “SON OF MAN!’ like “Jesus Folk!” and “Spirit” has a message with the widest possible application.
The musical symbolically presents the life and teaching of the radiantly alive Son of Man, taking for its title the name by which The Christ preferred to call Himself. There is no striving after “realism” in the narrow sense: no fruitless attempt is made to reproduce the narrow streets of Jerusalem and the turbulent waters of Galilee in the uncooperative confines of a theater. But the timeless enthusiasms, ambitions, disappointments and eventual triumphs of those who have the courage to follow The Son of Man are faithfully reproduced.
The musical poses certain questions and answers them with Bible-based confidence. Why was this “ordinary man” so extraordinary? What made this Son of Man the Son of God? Can one person perfectly combine the unquestionably human and the unquestionably divine? How could Saint Paul arrogantly proclaim “We are already sons of God albeit incomplete! One thing we are sure of, when He appears we shall know Him alright because we shall be like Him.” Can ordinary human beings resemble Jesus Christ, and if so, how can they make it happen?
The musical sets out to communicate in a modern way the ageless gospel of The Son of God who for our sakes became The Son of Man. Jesus was no ghostly phantom who, wraithlike, took on some faint resemblance to humanity. He was a man with the same needs, the same sensitivity as other men. He knew what it was to be tired and thirsty and frustrated. The Bible assures us that he was tempted at every turn just as we are and it is this very sharing of our situation which makes Him the understanding Saviour that He is! The musical would like to convey this essential humanity of Jesus.
And yet there was an undeniably divine quality about this joiner from Nazareth. There was a super-natural dimension to his personality which takes our breath away and beggars our descriptive powers. With Peter we can only get down on our knees before such beauty and say “My Lord and My God” for the “Almighty, invisible, God only wise” was beyond doubt wrapped in the flesh and blood of this incredible earthman. He is human, and yet so divine and the musical would like to underline that divinity.
The most incredible thing of the many marvellous things contained in the gospels is the suggestion that we can be like Him! That ordinary people such as ourselves can be a mixture of the human and the divine! When the people of Jesus receive the Spirit of Jesus and when the Spirit directs their lives, influences their decisions and transforms their ambitions there is no doubt about it, they grow to be like Him. Something of His patience, His purity, His compassion is increasingly detectable in their personalities. The musical would like to convey this good news more than any other and lead all who witness its presentation to pray:
Spirit of Jesus, Guest of the soul,
Transforming Spirit, making men whole,
Come to His servant, so men may see
Something of Jesus, Jesus in me!
Songs included in this musical:
Get The Road Ready
Behold The Lamb
The Spirit Of The Lord
In Him I See
Be A Gentle Judge
In The Quiet Of Evening
If You Want To Follow Me
To Whom Else Can We Go
That's What He Said
God Have Mercy
God Is Spirit
If You Knew
God Inside Of A Man Like Me
The New Covenant,
They Beat Him
Behold The Lamb
Touched By The Spirit
Spirit Of Jesus
Son Of Man-Son Of God
above photos taken from original musical score
Click on pic for report from: "New Frontier" Western Territory, Vol 1, No.10, June 25th 1983
Lt. Colonel and Mrs. John Larsson. chief secretary for the South American West Territory are among the many international guests at the Centennial Congress.
Larsson is best known as a member of the Gowans/Larsson team which has grown in notoriety since writing the musical "Take Over Bid."
In 1968 Lt. Colonel Larsson and Lt. Colonel Gowans. both corps officers at the time, were challenged to write a musical as part of a Youth Year celebration.
Colonel Larsson considers music writing to be a craft, although he says there are times when you just "have to get down and write it." Larsson says about his music ministry, "I think that when we get to heaven we are apt to find we have done more through our music than through the mainline programs."
The latest Gowans/Larsson musical, "Son of Man!" which is the first to be launched in the United States, will have its premier performance on Sunday evening at the congress. It is the hope of Colonel Larsson that "Son of Man!" will be used in many churches throughout the Army world.
Mrs. Larsson serves as Territorial Home League secretary for the South America West Territory. Mrs. Larsson says she is "more than happy to be a support to her husband." Mrs. Larsson is on occasion, asked by her husband to critique is music.
The South America West Territory is, according to the Colonel, modem in many places while other areas are very remote. The Army there is "alive but growing very slowly." Musical sections are almost nonexistent in the country of Chile. There are no songster brigades and only one band. The people of Chile, according to Mrs. Larsson, love to testify and pray spontaneously. Rather than the traditional music filled meetings the corps in this territory have testimony and prayer filled meetings.
The Army's social work in this South American territory consists largely of children's homes and day care centers. Children in Chile go to school for half a day and then many attend the Army's day care centers for the remainder of the day. With the average age of people in Chile around 45 there is almost no need for services to the elderly. The Army does provide many emergency disaster services to the people in South America, however, equipment for this type of work is hard to find in this part of the world.
As a result of the need for equipment the Western Territory is giving Colonel Larsson two coffee urns to take back to South America with him. The West has helped this territory in other ways. The Western Territory is the major contributor of monies which helped to build a new School for Officers' Training in Chile. Colonel and Mrs. Larsson both give their deep felt thanks to the soldiers and friends of the West who have made this building possible through their sacrificial self-denial giving. Larsson says he is so happy to be visiting the West which is his "favorite spot in the United States."
The above report taken from "New Frontier" Western Territory, Vol 1, No.9, June 4th 1983