Summary: This is an actual Tenebrae (Good Friday) service that was held.

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Welcome. Introduce guests.

Instructions: Tonight is going to be a little different from most services that you are used to. A solemn experience. It commemorates the crucifixion, the death, and burial of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we begin our service, I emphasize that as the service progresses, it will become darker and darker in the sanctuary, to the point of being almost a complete blackout.

As you can see from the bulletin, this will be a very solemn service. After all, the death and burial of Jesus was not a festive event. It was on this day of the week that Jesus was crucified, died, and was laid in the tomb. So we must leave here tonight with that thought in our minds. Believe me, it will make the Sonrise service on Sunday morning so much more meaningful.

At the end of the service, we will be participating in a silent Lord’s Supper. I will give you instructions at that time so you will understand how it will be done. The Lord’s Supper this evening will be done in a way that you may have never experienced.

I will also explain when the time comes about centering prayer and how that portion of the service will be conducted. Do you have any questions?

With that said, let’s begin our Tenebrae experience with a word of prayer.



Explanation of Tenebrae service

The service of worship tonight is taken from an early Christian service called Tenebrae. The name Tenebrae is the Latin word for “darkness” or “shadows.” Tonight we will experience only a small portion of Christ’s pain and suffering on the day of His crucifixion.

One of the most conspicuous features of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, remains. As it gets darker and darker we can reflect on the great emotional and physical pain that was very real for Jesus that evening.

The lone white candle that will be relit is understood to represent God’s change toward us with direct access to Him, no longer requiring the ceremonial acts of the priests for our forgiveness of sin. By this single light we all depart this service in silence. At one point in the service, the cross will be covered, signifying Jesus Christ being laid in the tomb.

(Candles are lit. Sanctuary lights are turned off)


The Cross. It rests on the time line of history. It’s absurdity attracts all critics. It’s hope lures all searchers. My! What a piece of wood! History has idolized it, despised it, gold plated it, burned it, worn it and trashed it. History has done everything to it but ignore it.

That’s the one option that the cross does not offer. No one can ignore it! You can’t ignore a piece of lumber that suspends the greatest claim in history—a crucified carpenter claiming that He is God on earth! The cross—it’s bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, history hinges upon it. Period. If not, it’s history’s hoax.

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