Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday

Last night was a first-time experience for me at a Tenebrae service. Our new pastor led us in the celebration of the death of Christ. As I understand it, Tenebrae, the Latin word for "shadows," is a tradition dating from the eleventh century. The church was lit fairly dimly at the beginning of the service. The big wooden cross on the wall at the front was draped in black. On the altar was a fat white candle flanked by six small tapers on each side. We sang a congregational hymn at the beginning. The pastor and two or three liturgists read the story of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. After each section of the reading one of the smaller candles was extinguished. When the story was finished with Christ being placed in the tomb, the big candle was carried out of the sanctuary, leaving everything dark. There was a crash. Then we sang "Were You There?" together and left in silence. It was very simple and very moving.

2 comments:

Carrie said...

We did the candle-snuffing out and leaving in "silence" as well, but not totally dark. Thank goodness with all the elderly people on those stairs. And silence was sort of not-so-well interpreted by A..."can we get a movie? can we go to the library and get a book? Where's M? Why do I need to be quiet?"

Sherie said...

Oh I really like Tenebrae services. Glad you were able to experience one.