Good Friday Tenebrae

Good Friday Tenebrae at Living Hope Church
1337 South 100th Street

Friday, March 29, 2024, 6:30pm 

 To impress on the minds and hearts of believers the awful consequences of sin and the magnitude of the Savior's sacrifice, the ancient church held a special service called Tenebrae, during the last days of Holy Week. The name means Darkness and Shadows.

In this adaptation of the medieval Tenebrae, we will be witnesses to the deepest sorrow of our Savior. Step after relentless step, Jesus walks the Way of Sorrows. One after another, all forsake him until ultimately he stands in the God-forsakenness of hell itself.

The extinguishing of the candles and growing darkness of the church, symbolizes the deepening sorrow. When the Lord breathes his last, the Christ Candle is extinguished, symbolizing our Lord's death and burial. Then the Christ Candle is relit in anticipation of the Lord's resurrection.


Tenebrae (ten’ eh bray) is an ancient rite of the Church. The Latin word “tenebrae” means “darkness.” During this service the candles on the altar will be extinguished one by one. In this we remember that God the Father cloaked the land with darkness during the death of his Son (Matthew 27:45).

This service has a subdued tone. There are moments of silence for meditation on the magnitude of Christ’s sacrificial love.

The Psalms play a prominent role in this service. The Psalms we use are Messianic, that is, they foreshadowed Christ’s work. We use them tonight to see how they were fulfilled at Jesus’ death.

At various points in the service the candles on the altar are extinguished. The seventh candle is not extinguished, but carried from the chancel, representing Jesus being carried to his Father’s side. Then the strepitus (strep’ ee toos) is heard; this is a loud noise that represents the rending of Christ’s tomb. The seventh candle is returned to burn in the chancel, foreshadowing the joy that awaits us on Easter morning.

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he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. ~ TITUS 3:5