Good Friday: Service of Darkness (Tenebrae)

All of human history hinges on this day. Humbling himself before the will of the Father and the blood-thirst of men, the Son of God is slaughtered. Even worse than an ignomible death, the Father must reject his own Son since he bears the sin of the world. But all this served God’s saving purpose, and so we call this Friday…Good.

Good Friday is not a “funeral” for Jesus, but an austere celebration of the Lamb and his sacrifice. The bare altar, symbolic of Christ, is the focus along with a large, rough-finished wood cross that is placed before it. The Service of Darkness developed from the early morning monastic prayer services of Matins and Lauds but has come to be used as an evening service on Good Friday. The service centers on a series of lessons, psalms, and liturgical texts that reflect on the Lord’s crucifixion and our repentance.

 

Service Program

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