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Tenebrae Service Friday April 10th

Friday, April 10, 2020


You are invited to share this service with others.

We ask that anyone using this document, outside of our own SHUC community, to please acknowledge that this is the work of Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver, Canada.

*Please note that in order to hear the music you must click on the blue name of the piece you wish to hear*

 Tenebrae: The Service of Shadows

Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows” or “darkness”) is a solemn observance of Jesus’ passion and death which has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service within the monastic community, Tenebrae became an important part of Holy Week for many denominations. Our service this morning marks Jesus’ journey to Golgotha, and allows for extended meditation through scripture, music and silent reflection. We gather today, on Good Friday, to enter into the dramatic narrative of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, and to reflect on God’s wondrous love.

If possible, gather 8 candles and light them as you begin this time of reflection. Directions will be given as to when to extinguish each candle. The final candle, your Christ candle, will remain the only burning candle at the end of the Tenebrae.

If you so wish, place a small stone or rock beside the candles to symbolize your present pain, burden and worries you wish to leave at the cross, in the hands of God.


O Menschbewein dein Sünde großBWV 622  J. S. Bach
(O Man Bewail your Grievous Sin)


Opening Prayer

 (by Walter Brueggemann)

“Holy God who hovers daily round us in fidelity and compassion,

this day we are mindful of the pieces of our lives and the parts of your world

that are on the loose in destructive ways.

We notice that wildness midst our fear and our anger unresolved.

We mark it in a world of brutality and poverty and hunger all around us.

But on this day of all days, that great threat looms so large and powerful.

It is not for nothing that we tremble at these three hours of darkness

and the raging earthquake.

It is not for nothing that we have a sense of our helplessness

before the dread power of death that has broken loose

and that struts against our interest and even against our will.

So, we come in our helpless candor this day… remembering, even giving thanks…

but not for one instant unmindful of dangers too ominous and powers too sturdy and threats well

beyond us.”

While the darkness descends, we dare to pray.




Image: Pastor John Keller


Choral Reflection: Adoramus te Eric Barnum

Christ, we adore thee, and bless thee: For by your holy cross and passion you have redeemed the world. O Lord, have mercy on us.


Scripture: Matthew 26: 36-46

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Extinguish First Candle


Choral Reflection: In Monte Oliveti  Terry Schlenker

On Mount Olivet he prayed to the Father: “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Your will be done.”




            Image: Caravaggio


Scripture: Matthew 26: 47-56

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


Extinguish Second Candle


Hymn: O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile

  1. O come and mourn with me awhile; O come now to the Saviour’s side;

O come, together let us mourn: Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

  1. Have we no tears to shed for him, while soldiers scoff and foes deride?

Ah! Look how patiently he hangs: Jesus, our Love, is crucified.

  1. Seven times he spake, sev’n words of love; and all three hours his silence cried

for mercy on the souls of all: Jesus, our Love is crucified.

  1. O Love of God! O sin-filled world! In this dread act your strength is tried,

and victory remains with love: Jesus, our Love, is crucified.


Words: Frederick William Faber 1849, alt. 

Music: John Bacchus Dykes 1861




The Trial of Jesus: James Tissot


Scripture: Matthew 26: 57-68

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”

But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven. ”Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”


Extinguish Third Candle


Choral Reflection: O vos omnes  Matthew Harris

All you that pass by, behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.




Scripture: Matthew 26: 69-75

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.


Extinguish Fourth Candle


Organ Meditation: Jésus Accepte sa Souffrance  (La Nativité du Seigneur) O. Messiaen

Jesus Accepts His Suffering





Scripture: Matthew 27: 11-34

Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.


Extinguish Fifth Candle


Hymn: O Sacred Head, Surrounded 

(Please note: lyrics included on video)





Scripture: John 19: 23-27

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.”  And that is what the soldiers did.  Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


Extinguish Sixth Candle



 Image: Rogier van der Weyden


Choral ReflectionAnd the Mother Did Weep Karl Jenkins


Poetry: “Mary Speaks”  Madeleine L’Engle

O you who bear the pain of the whole earth, I bore you.
O you whose tears gave human tears their worth, I laughed with you.
You, who when your hem is touched, give power, I nourished you.
Who turn the day to night in this dark hour, light comes from you.
O you who hold the world in your embrace, I carried you.
Whose arms encircled the world with your grace, I once held you.
O you who laughed and ate and walked the shore, I played with you.
And I, who with all others, you died for, now I hold you.
May I be faithful to this final test, in this last hour I hold my child, my son;
His body close enfolded to my breast: The holder held, the bearer borne.
Mourning to joy, darkness to morn. Open, my arms; your work is done.


Hymn: At the Cross Her Vigil Keeping     

  1. At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping,
    close to Jesus to the last.
  2. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, all his bitter anguish bearing,
    now at length the sword has passed.
  3. Oh, how sad and sore distressed was that Mother highly blest
    of the sole begotten One!




Image: Ben Denison


Choral Reflection: Were You There Spiritual, arr. Norman Luboff


Scripture: Luke 23: 26-28; 32-43

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews. ”One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


Extinguish Seventh Candle


Hymn: Jesus, Remember Me




Image: Daniel Bonnell


Scripture: Mark 15: 33-39

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”

And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick,

and gave it to him to drink, saying,

“Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”

Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Now when the centurion, who stood facing him,

saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said,

“Truly this man was God’s Son!”






Choral Reflection: Trauert ihr englischen Chőre Heinrich F. Müller

Grieve ye angelic choirs and weep, weep with us in mourning, for the Saviour has been crucified. Sound the harp’s lowest tone. Seraphim – stir the human heart, tell it to the stars and to every sea: Today on the cross, in great suffering, the Son of God has died, Jesus Christ the Lord.


Scriptural Reflection: Isaiah 53: 1-12

Who has believed what we have heard?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;

and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;

yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way,

and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away.

Who could have imagined his future?

For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.

They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,

although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.

When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;

through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.

The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

(Please note: lyrics included on video)



Closing Prayer

(by Rev. Jay Olson)

Holy God,

we are here at the foot of the cross daring to look up to see Jesus hanging there.

We are afraid.  We want to run away from this crisis.

We want to go back and re-write this script.  We want this not to be.

We see the horror of injustice.

We see right before our eyes the power of death revealed in acts and attitudes of fear, in some putting their own interests above others and in our collaboration with systems that deny truth and trivialize the lives of some justifying the acceptance of collateral damage.

We are afraid of the power of death in disease.

Stay with us now.

Stay with us as we grieve.

Stay with us in the promise that this day, this crisis, will not have the last word.

We humbly ask in the name of Christ crucified.  Amen.


Choral Blessing: Ubi caritas Maurice Duruflé

Where there is charity and love, God is there. The love of Christ has gathered us together.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us revere and love the living God.
And from a sincere heart may we love one another.



Music License: A-729850

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