Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday Tenebrae at Fourth Presbyterian

My girlfriend and I thought it would be good to find a Good Friday service to attend last night so we checked out the Tenebrae at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda.

The service was wonderful and awe-inspiringly worshipful, albeit a bit staid compared to what I'm used to in the Reformed charismatic tradition. The sermon was drawn from Isaiah 53. I'll post a link to the MP3 of the sermon when it's added online, but you can check out their Web site here.

Aside from prayers, hymns, and the sermon, there was a series of Bible readings after each of which a candle was extinguished to represent Christ's passion, death, and burial. As the bulletin explained, the practice is "taken from an early Christian service called Tenebrae," Latin for "darkness" or "shadows.":

The Shadow of Betrayal Matt. 26:20-25
The Shadow of Desertion Matt. 26:30-35
The Shadow of Unshared Vigil Luke 22:39-46
The Shadow of Accusation Mark 14:43-65
The Shadow of Crucifixion Matt. 27:27-38
The Shadow of Death Luke 23:44-49
The Shadow of the Tomb John 19:38-42

Those readings were then followed by a choral response but no benediction "as it is a service of anticipation, awaiting Easter Morning and the Resurrection of our crucified Christ."



paul maurice martin March 22, 2008 at 5:44 PM  

I think it's good for us to dwell in those shadows a while - sometimes it seems to me that we're in a bit of a hurry to skip that part and get to Easter Sunday.

Tertius March 25, 2008 at 3:44 PM  

Thanks for your note, Paul. I hope you had a blessed Easter rejoicing in our risen Savior.

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