Tenebrae – a service of shadows

Dating from the 4th Century, in this very simple act of worship we reflect upon the shadows which fell upon Jesus Christ in the last week of His life.
We begin by lighting again the Advent Candle we used to count down to celebrating Christmas.
“The light of Christ has come into the world. The light shines in the darkness.”
We use the Advent Candle to light six more candles.
“The light came into the darkness. But the world preferred the darkness to the light.”
We then listen to the seven readings. After each reading we say together the ancient prayer Kyrie Eleison:
“Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”
We then spend a few minutes in silent reflection at the end of which one of the six candles is extinguished.
1. THE SHADOW OF BETRAYAL. Matthew 26:20-25
2. THE SHADOW OF INNER AGONY. Luke 22:40-44
3. THE SHADOW OF LONELINESS. Matthew 26:40-45
4. THE SHADOW OF DESERTION. Matthew 26:47-50, 55-56
5. THE SHADOW OF ACCUSATION. Matthew 26: 59-67
6. THE SHADOW OF MOCKERY. Mark 15:12-20
7. THE SHADOW OF DEATH. Luke 23:33-46
After the seventh reading we spend ten minutes in silent meditation, a small fraction of the three hours Christ was hanging on the cross.
“Then Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’ The light of Christ came into the world. The light shone in the darkness. But the world preferred the darkness. The light shone in the darkness. And the darkness put it out.”
The Advent Candle is now extinguished and we continue in silent prayer.

This entry was posted in Easter.

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