Tuesday night, we went to a service at our church called Tenebrae, meaning shadows or darkness. It’s a service I wasn’t familiar with; no music, or sermon, just a collection of psalms and readings. I was one of the lucky ones who read a selection from Lamentations…who doesn’t love reading through that book?? Here’s an excerpt:
“The roads to Zion mourn, because non come to the solemn feasts; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan and sigh; her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.”
The readings all took on a heavier tone, but as our pastor wrote in the program, “The psalms and readings tell of the darkness that presses upon us all–darkness that comes from living in a broken world, and the blackness of our own sin.”
As the service moved on, fifteen candles burning slowly dwindled down to only one. The final candle represented Jesus. Towards the end, the remaining candle is hidden to represent Jesus going into the tomb.
“At that moment in history, when Jesus died”, our pastor wrote, “all seemed lost–it seemed that our broken world, our sin and misfortune had won.”
But we all know how the story ends…