Tonight we joined together for Tenebrae. Tenebrae is a service of darkness. Is is a memorial service of the cross.
In our service, our small choir sang hymns and spiritual songs linked to Jesus death on the cross. The only stanzas sung were those that related directly to Jesus on the cross. A young girl (with her Aunt’s help) had the mission of putting out each candle after each of the sayings of Jesus and a young boy was responsible (with his mother’s help) to turn off the lights in a planned order to eventually put the room into darkness.
We joined together in the bittersweet joy/grieving of the cross.
The Hispanic church (that shares our building with us) joined us in observing our grief. Next year they will join us in being the ministering presence. This service is one of the most powerful, emotional services we have every year. It helps to make Easter even more meaningful to our church family and those who join with us.
I deeply wish I had become familiar with the church calendar earlier in my ministry. I cherish the freedom that it gives as well as the spiritual depth it helps foster and maintain.
Perhaps the ancient practice that fed the church during the darkness of ages past can help the church now in our age of bureaucratic institutions, consumer driven congregations and the shallowness that now is passed off as discipleship.