Good Friday/Tenebrae Joint Service

by Glenna With

A new tradition began on Good Friday. The Southern Metro Disciples of Christ Churches joined together for a Good Friday/Tenebrae service at First Christian Church of Griffin.  There were over sixty people in attendance, and the worship experience  was organized by the ministers.  The idea began from a suggestion at a cluster meeting when the subject of joint services arose.  The minsters liked the idea and began organizing the special service.

Those who organized and participated in the evening were:  Rev. Tom Van Laningham of First Christian Church of Griffiin; Rev. Anita Renahan-White of Liberty Christian Church, Newnan; Rev. Johan Van der Merwe of Williamson Christian Church; Rev. Suzanne Cole Wages and Rev. Douglas Miller of Damascus Road Christian Church; Rev. Amy BeVille of Community Christian Church of Fayetteville; and Rev. Reeda Allen of Eagle’s Landing Christian Church.  The evening began with a potluck dinner, and those in attendance brought side dishes to be shared.  The dining tables were decorated with chalices and candles, and once worship began, a reverent silence filled the sanctuary.

Each table was offered the opportunity to share communion by intinction, and the bread and cup was passed to each worshiper.  The Tenebrae Service of Shadows then followed.  Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness, and it is an ancient Christian Good Friday Service that makes use of gradually diminishing light, as it commemorates the suffering and death of Christ.  The scripture was taken from Matthew 26:31- 27:54.  Each reading was followed by the symbolic extinguishing of a candle to make another shadow in room. The various shadows explored were:  desertion, loneliness, betrayal, accusation, denial, conviction, hubris, silence, anger, humiliation, crucifixion, and mockery and death. A solo, Wayfaring Stranger sung by Rev. Amy BeVille magnified the mood of the shadow of silence.  Two congregational hymns were sung, O Sacred Head, Now Wounded  and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.  A responsive and choral psalm was also included in the service, Psalm 22:1-30 (Chalice #732).

Following the service, the congregation left in silence and prayer.

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