Tuesday, 31 March 2015


Tenebrae - a service of shadows

This has to be one of the most moving and sensory rich piece of liturgy that we have in the Church today as readings, music and sound conspire to take us another step forward along the road to the cross.

In the same way that contractions get closer and more intense as the end is reached - so too does Holy Week bring this into the experience of those who seek to take the final steps with jesus, the Christ, as we engage with the lengthening shadows as the drama of the Passion unfolds.

The word 'tenebrae' is Latin for 'shadows' and it it the lengthening shadows of Jesus last days leading to the crucifixion that this service makes more real for us.

Traditionally this service would have taken place on Good Friday, or for some Maundy Thursday, but where we are we have a full Holy Week and so it has moved to Tuesday this year.

As readings are done a candle is extinguished until we find but one candle remains - the Christ light - and then, this too is hidden from us and (like Maundy Thursday) the people exit silently in darkness.

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