Good Friday Tenebrae, April 14, 2017

This service is not my own, but it is the one that, quite literally, I inherited from my mother.  Who knows where it was before that.  I am copying here from a 2004 bulletin, but this could be any year since.  The changes come with what music is used in between be it sung by a choir or hymns.  Note: make sure that there is enough light left by the end to be able to see the hymns as needed and especially to keep reading the scriptures.  That was an awkward year yup.

Each of the readings can be read by one voice, or as a good alternative is to have a very simple readers’ theater where the evangelist, Judas, Disciples etc. each are spoken by different voices.

Tenebrae

The Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” dates from medieval times.  Tenebrae was originally a series of sung services in monastic communities constituting morning and evening prayer, held daily Wednesday through Saturday of Holy Week.  In our observance, scripture, song, and silence lead us in a prolonged meditation on the events of salvation following the Last Supper through the entombment of Christ.

With each progressive step of the Passion, the candles are extinguished until only the one Christ candle remains.  When it, too, is removed from sight for three minutes, we ponder the apparent victory of the forces of evil at the moment of Christ’s death.  The Christ candle returns with it’s ray of promise for the third day.

SILENT PROCESSIONAL

CALL TO WORSHIP     Isaiah 53: 2-5

MUSIC

LIGHTING OF THE TENEBRAE CANDLES

SHADOW OF BETRAYAL

READING     Matthew 26: 20-25

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF DESERTION

READING     Matthew 26: 30-35

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF AN UNSHARED VIGIL

READING     Luke 22: 39-46

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF AN ACCUSATION

READING     Mark 14: 43-65

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF CRUCIFIXION

READING     Matthew 27: 27-38

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF DEATH

READING     Luke 23: 44-49

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

SHADOW OF THE TOMB

READING     John 19: 38-42

MUSIC

CANDLES EXTINGUISHED

The Christ candle is removed, and remains out for 3 minutes, symbolizing Christ’s three days in the tomb.  The light is returned to pierce the darkness with hope.

Following silent prayer, each worshiper is asked to observe silence when leaving the church.

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