Posts Tagged ‘Service of Tenebrae


4.17.14 … the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day …

“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2014 Lenten Labyrinth Walks,   Avondale Presbyterian Church – Charlotte (37/40):


My day stated with this  email from James Howell explaining Maundy Thursday:

“Maundy” is derived from the same ancient root as our word “mandate.” Jesus issued a mandate: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Today, we do.

So many of Jesus’ meals were memorable! Pious people complained that he “ate with sinners” (Luke 15:2). As a dinner guest, he let a questionable woman wash his feet (Luke 7:36), and another anoint him with oil (Mark 14:1). He suggested that when you have a dinner party, don’t invite those who can invite you back, but urge the poor, blind, maimed and lame to eat with you (Luke 14:14).

His most memorable meal though was his last. For the Jews, it was Passover, the most sacred of days when they celebrated God’s powerful deliverance of Israel from Egypt; the menu of lamb, unleavened bread, and drinking wine symbolized their dramatic salvation.

Jesus must have struck the disciples as oddly somber on such a festive night. He washed their feet, then spoke gloomily about his imminent suffering. As he broke a piece of bread, he saw in it a palpable symbol of what would happen to his own body soon; staring into the cup of red wine, he caught a glimpse of his own blood being shed. We still use the words Jesus spoke on that Thursday when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper now.


Prior to going to the labyrinth, I prepared for a class.  Today, I read from NT Wright’s chapter 14 on the resurrection and ascension of Christ. I will lead a discussion on it on Tuesday. This year in TMBS, we have looked at doubt as well as at stripping away what we think and believe about Christ to see what/who is there at the core. When I put the two studies together, for some reason I have no problem, no doubt, about the resurrection and  ascension. NT Wright, however, makes me think about the purpose of it all. And in that regard, I begin to have questions. It’s funny how just a little bit of knowledge goes along way.

As I approached the labyrinth, I pulled from my pocket the brochure from another labyrinth.  It never hurts to have a reminder when one is using undertaking a spiritual practice.

“There is no right way or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. A child’s playful run through the channels is in its own way a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Your labyrinth walk is your own personal act of prayer. Pray as you feel led.”

That is a nice way to introduce want someone to a labyrinth. I’ll have to remember to keep it handy.

The flowers are gorgeous in the garden but so are the trees in all their new leaf glory!

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It was cool today, and the labyrinth was mostly in the shade. I longed for the sunshine and there were only a few circuits that were in the sun.


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I find myself looking for missed Easter eggs from the Easter egg hunt that was here last Saturday. I sat in the grass on the edge before walking and oddly found a piece of quartz. Many people put up quartz at labyrinths to pull in the sacred energy to the place. Obviously not a very Christian thing, but an interesting practice. I have seen it done. I wonder what I will do with my piece of quartz (or my piece of waterlogged candy.)


I hear the birds and, of course, the chimes.


I attended my church’s Maundy Thursday and Service of Tenebrae tonight. That was an unbelievably moving experience.  It was not part of my faith practice growing up and actually that was probably only my third such service but every time I have gone I am deeply moved.

Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows

The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.

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”; 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.

via Tenebrae: A Service of Shadows.

So after my research, i think it was à propos that my walk was in the shadows.

Blessings from the Darkness!





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