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You’re Invited to Encounter Our Lord in the Darkness This Evening at St. Paul’s

April 16, 2014

As we move deeper into Holy Week, we move into a deepening awareness of the darkness Our Lord experienced, and the darkness that resides within each of our souls. This evening, on what is often called “Spy Wednesday,” we’re sharing together a Service of Tenebrae, which means shadows or darkness.

Tenebrae is an ancient Service, consisting of Psalms and other Readings from Holy Scripture, and – as our point of focus – a triangular, fifteen-candle candelabra known as a “hearse.” As the Service progresses, the candles on the candelabra are gradually extinguished, eventually leaving the Sanctuary in darkness.

The encroaching darkness of Tenebrae helps us to recall the desolation of Our Lord, abandoned and left alone in the darkness of the night in the Garden of Gethsemane, when his friends could not stay awake to watch with him as he prayed; alone at the trials before King Herod and Pontius Pilate; betrayed on this day by Judas, one of the twelve; denied by Peter at the house of Caiphas; and alone on the Cross as he cried out “Why have you forsaken me?” We think also of the three hours of physical darkness that fell over the earth at Our Lord’s crucifixion, when it seemed that the power of darkness had conquered all.

candle-in-the-darkness

The Service ends, however, with a symbolic reminder that darkness does not have the final word, a hint of the Promise of Easter morn. And because of the truth of Easter, this evening we shall each have the opportunity to encounter him, with us, in the midst of the darkness. 

Everyone’s invited!

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