This weekend I am at a dear friend’s wedding and will not be with family or close friends Thursday through Sunday — it is odd to be “out of community” during this season of the year and brought to mind the following post from two years ago. Of all the types of services, a Tenebrae service (more below) is one my soul longs for in preparation for Easter. Another resource I learned about last week is by The Liturgists and called‘Garden’—it combines music, prayer, poetry, and spoken word to create an honest and evocative liturgy around Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.



This past week I had the sinking feeling that I had “done” lent poorly this year. Which begged the question, is lent something to do? The most direct answer is, no, it’s not.

However, it is a season that can help position a soul, a family, even a group in such a way that you are not doing lent but entering a deeper relationship with He who is timeless. So when I say that I did lent poorly, what I really mean is that I am saddened to have missed an opportunity to reflect, to grow, and to walk with fellow sojourners more intentionally.

I am part of a community that humors me as I wrestle out loud and in ways that might appear ridiculous. A subgroup gathers faithfully Friday nights to join a less eternal, but still redemptive story, watching The Biggest Loser. This past week was a shorter episode, only 40 minutes with the commercials cut out. I received this extra time as a gift to start the weekend more appropriately postured than I had been during the preparatory season. I sent out a last minute email entitled Biggest Loser and Good Friday – all were welcome to join in a short Good Friday service after we had debriefed Makeover Week.

TV then a religious gathering. An odd juxtaposition, I know. A bit ridiculous? Perhaps. Needed for my soul? Absolutely. Touching this world and the next.

Twelve of us gathered for a Tenebrae service.  Taking turns reading though Matthew, we started at the end of the last supper and read through Jesus’ death. Candles extinguished as the story progresses – Peter’s denial predicted. Candle snuffed. Praying in the garden. Candle snuffed. One by one they were put out until Christ dies. The final candle snuffed and we sat in the tomb-like dark room. People left as they were lead.

Reading with my brothers and sisters, we walked the path together. Denying we know him, sleeping in the garden, betraying with a kiss, we joined in the story. I cannot speak for them, but hearing their voices, voices I know in the light, read the words I needed to hear in the growing darkness postured this soul for Saturday mourning and Sunday rejoicing.

Though Christ cried it is finished, it’s never too late to join in. Even if it is day 38 of a 40 day season, that’s a key part of the gospel: it’s never too late!


Linking with Velvet Ashes


Photo Credit: Sabrina Mae via Compfight cc

Categories: Faith, Travel, Velvet Ashes



Leave A Comment

  1. Emily thomas April 18, 2014 at 6:58 am - Reply

    I love this, Amy! I had never heard of that type of service before. I want to do that next year!

  2. Kristi April 18, 2014 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Amen. Never too late. Tenebrae always moved me. Even before I knew the Lord. I really miss it.

  3. Danielle Wheeler April 18, 2014 at 7:21 am - Reply

    Lent done poorly… Hmm, fighting over the resurrection eggs, fussing over who blew out which candle, saying “Come back and sit down now” five times… It all can feel a lot like “lent done poorly.” So I’m very glad Lent is not something we do. :)

    In our own messy, loud way, we are entering into the story. And it is good.

  4. Kit April 18, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Amy, thank you for this. Two things:

    We always did a Tenebrae service at our church and I loved it. Tonight we will do our first Tenebrae at our new church, a church we are planting. I am looking forward to introducing this to friends who haven’t done one before.

    I feel that I have done Holy Week poorly. The work of the church has overshadowed my own focus on the Lord. I have spent this week irritable, fighting within and without, being anxious, stressing, wrapped in my own concerns, making life miserable for me and others. I can’t find my children’s Easter baskets, I haven’t given a thought to a new Easter item of clothing for them until today in the middle of Walmart when I remembered that I usually do that. I am mad and grumpy. I need Jesus so much today. I need to remember that all my roiling sin no longer tells me who I really am and that God’s anger over my sin has been poured out on my dear Savior. Because He wanted me. He wanted to have me!!

    Thanks, Amy.

  5. Martha Lester April 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Amy, Thank you – I am glad to hear about the Tenebrae service – it sounds very meaningful
    . i want to do that next year.

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