Much of Mauriello's spiritual journey happened outside the church, inspired by art and the natural world. A Unitarian Universalist, she did not grow up entrenched in scripture. In fall 2018, she took her first Hebrew Bible course with Dr. Carolyn Pressler, who emphasized both the numerous voices of people in the Bible and the many ways readers might approach the stories: historical, literary, feminist, womanist, mythological and religious. Mauriello was drawn into the characters and contexts of the Hebrew Bible, realizing an affinity with the complicated text.

Enrolled in Dr. Pressler's Hebrew Bible in the Life of the Community in spring 2019, Mauriello explored how her new academic interest could be meaningful in her spiritual and artistic life and how it could speak to her context. Identifying the ways Biblical characters can continue to speak to our own feelings of sadness, wonder, longing, joy, and bitterness, she set to work on Older Testament: The Musical.

Drawing on stories of bitterness and pain, Mauriello wrote, composed, performed and recorded two songs, “Bitter” and “Where You Go I Go,” which can be found on Youtube. “Bitter” is based on the book of Job, with five singing roles between Job and his friends who attempt to make sense of the violence and misfortune that God has inflicted onto Job and his family. “Where You Go I Go” connects the theme of feeling abandoned, bitter and betrayed to the character of Naomi from the book of Ruth. This song includes two singing parts and has an overall uplifting message as Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law in a moment of great loss.

With at least three more songs currently in mind, Mauriello is determined to continue exploring the Hebrew Bible through musical theatre. When it is complete, the musical will be featured in United's blog (blog.unitedseminary.edu/the-canvas).

SOURCE United Theological Seminary of The Twin Cities

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