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In the fourth century a solemn observance of the Lord’s Supper, known as “Tenebrae”, was celebrated. The service involved the lighting and extinguishing of candles as a reminder of the darkness that covered the earth after the passion and crucifixion of our Savior.
A service to be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ava is a version of this ancient office of Tenebrae, (a Latin word for darkness).
The special service will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday, April 6.
Trinity Lutheran Church is located off NW 16th Ave., just east of N. Highway 5.
Tenebrae is observed in Lent, and particularly on Good Friday, to impress upon the minds and hearts of believers the tragic consequences of mankind’s sin and the greatness of the Savior’s sacrifice on Calvary. Traditionally, the ceremony of Tenebrae embodies the extinguishing in succession of the candles and the other lights on the altar and in the church, thus casting the entire sanctuary into total darkness. The bare altar and unvested furniture emphasizes the stark somberness of this holy day.
No sermon is given. Instead, the various readings highlight the vital facts of Good Friday. The church is darkened gradually. After each major section, another candle is extinguished, symbolic of the gradual flight and denial of the disciples and friends of Jesus away from the crucifixion. As we see the pageant unfolding we are graphically reminded of our own desertion of Jesus and the consequence of separation.
The extinguishing of the central “Christus” candle is completed immediately after the reading signifies the death of Jesus Christ.
The harsh sound of the crashing books is symbolic of the earthquake at the death of Jesus, and the emptiness and confusion which exists in a life without Christ.