The Tenebrae service is an ancient tradition dating back to the third century. Tenebrae is from the Latin for shadows and the light is gradually extinguished showing the dying of Christ. Due to the nature of the service, no offering will be taken. Instead offerings may be left in the plate at the door. You may stay in prayer following the service as long as you wish.
In her opening, Tiffany talked about the death of Jesus, and I felt so much like she was using it as like a real person's name -- I mean, not that Jesus wasn't a real person, but... you know what I mean.
Call to Worship
We come here today to remember a person.
A person...who had dreams,
who had those dreams shattered,
who needed time to think and pray,
who knew suffering and death...
On this day we look at the cross, and we remember...
the betrayal of friendship and its consequences,
the cruelty of political authority and execution,
and the suffering, loss and grief of human existence.
On this day may we also remember
that suffering, loss, cruelty and grief
are still a part of our lives.
On this day, then, may we learn some new precepts for living...
do not avoid contact with suffering, or close your eyes before a broken world;
do not maintain anger or hatred; do not say untruthful things; do not live
(Adapted by TL Steinwert from -- M Dobson, M Morwood, Thich Nhat Hanh)
Opening Prayer: Bearing Our Losses
Tiffany had posted the "Seven Last Words" on her blog, so I'd already read them. I'd heard about the "last words" before, but hadn't really thought about what they actually would be beyond the obvious "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" and "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?" and "It is finished."
The thematic linkings of the Prayers of Response didn't particularly work for me, but I do recognize the usefulness of specifically naming a variety of types of loss.
A Word of Forgiveness
Luke 22:27-30; 32-34
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Wealth
Hymn of Response: "God, Whose Love Is Strong As Death" (insert)
A Word of Assurance
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Dreams
Hymn of Response: "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" (insert)
A Word of Compassion
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Relationships
Affirmation of Faith
We believe in God around us, Dreamer and sustainer of life.A Word of Anguish
When there was nothing but an ocean of tears,
God sighed over the waters and dreamed a small dream:
light in the darkness,
a small planet in space.
We believe in God beside us, Jesus as the Christ, dream made flesh.
When hope and fear were raging, when love was beaten down,
when hope was nailed and left to die,
Christ entered into our deep secret places
and went down into death to find us.
We believe in God within us, Spirit who empowers the dream.
Who weeps with us in our despair,
who breathes on prison doors, never admitting it's hopeless,
always expecting the bars to bend and sway
and break forth into blossom.
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Loved Ones
Hymn of Response: "Were You There" (insert, v. 1-2)
It was changed to say "Love" instead of "Lord," which I think actually works well.
A Word of Suffering
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Health
Hymn of Response: "Were You There" (insert, v. 3-4)
A Word of Acceptance
Prayer of Response: A Loss of Hope
Song of Response: "Hurt" by Johnny Cash (complete with video)
At this time all are invited to come forward and place a stone at the foot of the cross as you invite God to share and relieve you of your sorrows and burdens.
A Word of Release