404 N. Prairie Street, Bloomington
Group: WM Traditional Worship
Campus: Second Presbyterian Church
The word Tenebrae is Latin for "shadows" or "darkness." It can also be translated as "night" or "death." The Tenebrae service is an ancient tradition in Christian history that took place on one of the last three days of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday. The purpose of this service was to remember the somber events that occurred in Jesus' life from the exuberant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through the night of Jesus' burial on Good Friday.
The most distinctive aspect of the service is the use of a Tenebrae "hearse," a holder for several lit candles. The flames of these candles are extinguished one by one as Scripture readings are shared to tell the story of Holy Week. This gradual descent into gloom is a representation of Jesus' increasing sorrow as the events of Passion Week unfolded. After the last verse is read, the last candle is put out, and the room is plunged into darkness.