I invite you to join us in our Tenebrae Service on the evening of Good Friday as we accompany Jesus into the dark shadows of His last hours on earth. The word “Tenebrae” is Latin for “shadows”. The purpose of the Tenebrae is to help us better understand why Jesus did what He did for us. We do that by recreating the emotions felt by the Apostles and Jesus’ followers as they dine with Him at the Passover, see Him arrested and beaten for a crime He didn’t commit, watch Him die a brutal death at the hands of a Roman crucifixion, and stand in stunning silence as He is laid in a tomb.
Making this journey as a disciple of Jesus on that first Good Friday would not have been a happy event. Many fell into despair and hid in fear for their own safety. Some wandered in a state of shock and disbelief. Others grew angry at what they did to Him. The Tenebrae Service is designed to help us experience all of these same emotions as we walk with Jesus during His final hours.
Our Tenebrae Service is a solemn, candle light service. There is no music until the very end when we softly sing together “Were You There” before leaving the church. There are 7 readings, 6 from the Gospel Passion Stories and 1 from Isaiah’s prophesy of the Suffering Servant. Each reading is followed by a short prayer, then extinguishing candles until only one candle remains lit. This last candle represents Jesus.
At the end of the last reading, the final candle is extinguished and the sound of the stone being dragged across the tomb entrance can be heard. With the tomb closed, we are left in total darkness to reflect on the devastation we would have felt after Jesus was suddenly and violently taken from our life. Afterwards, we travel home in silence contemplating what just happened.
The Tenebrae Service powerfully recreates the betrayal, abandonment, and the agony of the evening. It is left unfinished, because the story is not over until Easter Morning. If you are looking to journey through the Passion of Jesus Christ like never before, please join us on Good Friday, 8pm, at St Mary on the Lake. It will be a Holy Week experience you will never forget.
P.S. Bring a friend. All are invited!