A SERVICE OF TENEBRAE
April 14, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
A Service of Tenebrae, or “Darkness,” is based on a twelfth–century late night/early morning service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ. We hear the story of the passion and give thanks for the sacrifice made on our behalf.
Leader: God is light, in whom there is no darkness at all.
People: Jesus Christ is the light of the world. (We light the Christ Candle.)
*Opening Hymn: “What Wondrous Love Is This”…………………………….…..#215
All: King of Glory, we adore you, our Savior and Lord. You suffered on the cross and gave your life as a ransom for many. We bless and thank you for the outpouring of your love and offer our worship tonight out of unspeakable gratitude. Amen (a time for silent prayers)
Call to Confession: “Just as I Am, Without One Plea”…………..#442, verses 1 and 4
For Meditation: Psalm 51……………………………………….……..(O.T., page 492)
Prayer of Confession:
Leader: Loving God, we know that you love us,
People: so we confess that we have let you down.
All: Every day we betray you, deny you, misunderstand you, crucify you. We betray you when we are selfish or unkind. (Pause). We deny you when we do not speak out for justice and truth. (Pause). We misunderstand you when we justify our actions by misquoting your teaching. (Pause). We are truly worry, and we wait for your word of love. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Words of Assurance:
Leader: Almighty God, look with mercy on your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and to be given over to the hands of sinners and to suffer death on the cross; through him who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
The Passion Of Jesus Christ
We gather today to hear the story of the incarceration, trial, and execution of Jesus, as recorded in the gospel of John. We gather to hear Jesus declare himself, submit himself, and pray for himself. We gather to walk with him on his journey. On that night of his betrayal and desertion, Jesus took time to be with his Father, and to pray for his followers. He concluded his prayer with “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.” How ironic that after speaking about love, Jesus left that place of prayer and entered into his darkest hour. He did so, for you and for me.
John 18: 1-14 Reading #1
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking? 5They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ 8Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’ 12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.
Question for reflection: Have you known betrayal by a friend? How would you respond?
John 18: 15-27 Reading #2
15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ 18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were
standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. 19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said noting in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.
Question for Reflection: In what ways have you denied our Lord?
Anthem: “Of Tears and Sorrows”…………………………………………………Martin
John 18: 28-38 Reading #3
28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ 30They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ 31Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ 32(This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)
33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ 38Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’
Question for Reflection: Does the world present to us “alternative facts”?
John 18: 39-40, 19: 1-6 Reading #4
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 40They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ 6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’
Question for Reflection: What or who shapes your opinions?
HYMN: “You Are My Refuge, Faithful God”……………………………………..…#214
John 19: 6a-16 Reading #5
Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ 7The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’ 8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.
9He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ 15They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked
them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
Question for Reflection: Where is there hope on this far away hill called Golgotha?
John 19: 17-25 Reading #6
So they took Jesus; and 17 carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and
with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, “The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘this man said I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23When the soldiers crucified Jesus they took his clothes and divided them in four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So 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.” 25And 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 Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. 28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (The Christ Candle is extinguished.)
Question for Reflection: What is finished for you, and what has begun?
Solo: “Were You There?”
Parting words: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. For by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Please depart in silence, to continue our Holy Week journey. Go with God’s blessings and the peace that passes all understanding.