What is Tenebrae?
Meaning "darkness" or "shadows", Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion, music portrays his pathos, and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death; we remember the cataclysmic nature of his sacrifice as we hear the overwhelming sound of the “strepitus”(often made by slamming shut a book); and through the return of the small but persistent flame of the Christ candle at the conclusion of the service, we anticipate the joy of ultimate victory. [source: https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/tenebrae-a-service-of-shadows/]
How to set the scene in your home for our online service:
(These are suggestions to help you get the full experience of the occasion - you can incorporate these as you choose)
Create a sombre mood/atmosphere
Dress in black, formal or semi-formal clothes.
Keep the lighting dim, light some candles (there are 7 candles that get extinguished in the course of the service and an 8th that gets revealed or lit at the end - you could follow along with your own candles at home if you'd like).
Have bread and grape juice or wine set out for Holy Communion. Prepare a Passover table - this is a nice activity to get the kids involved but requires some preparation ahead of time. The Passover elements would include:
Leg of lamb on the bone
Hard boiled egg
Bitter herbs (like parsley dipped in salt water)
Chopped walnuts, dried apples and cinnamon
Invite friends and family to join the service - How?
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Let the kids make an invitation, take a picture of it or make a video and send to friends on WhatsApp
Or let the kids make an invitation poster with the web address to put up in one of your windows or write/draw it in chalk on your driveway