Not having come from a liturgical church background, I am less familiar with some of the special, annual worship opportunities they offer. Recently, a friend told me about the Tenebrae Service practiced in many churches. This service, celebrated during the week leading up to Easter, includes lit candles that are extinguished as Scripture passages are read. These Scripture passage encourage the readers to reflect on either the events between the Triumphal Entry and burial of Jesus or on the seven last statements of Jesus on the cross prior to His death. This increasing darkness symbolizes the approaching darkness of Jesus’ death and of hopelessness in the world without God.
Whether you light and extinguish candles during a Tenebrae Service or not let me encourage you to pause and reflect on these statements of Jesus.
1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:34)
2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Lk. 23:43)
3. He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (Jn. 19:26, 27)
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
5. “I am thirsty.” (Jn. 19:28)
6. “It is finished.” (Jn. 19:30)
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk. 23:46)