April 3, 2013

Tenebrae | Shadows 2013

The Cross hung with black cloth; Christ has died ...
The tenebrae gathering is a 13th-century liturgical gathering intended for Good Friday as a lament. In gathering together in this way, we join in solidarity for the suffering of our world, our communities, and our congregation by entering the narrative of the suffering and death of our savior. In the narrative of passover to grave, we begin to see how Jesus' suffering identifies with our own, and with that of others. The man of sorrows is never more human, yet never more divine as He redeems even our pain and suffering. Seven candles and seven readings make the bulk of the gathering; after each reading, a candle is extinguished, and the room grows increasingly darker. As the darkess takes hold, the music, too, grows quieter, until we finish our gathering in complete silence following the tolling of the bell, seven times, the biblical number of completion.

The table of the candles
Traditionally, the last candle is walked out of the sanctuary still lit, but since we had already modified the gathering in a few other ways (notably some of the scriptures and readings, and the order takes a more complex literary format by using a "flashback" for communion), I decided to completely snuff it and finish the story - Christ did die, after all, so it seemed appropriate.

Yes, that is a real sword, and yes, it does hang in my office. I'm awesome that way.

One thing I'm rather proud of are several pieces I wrote and arranged myself; "Lament (ReCreate Us)" is an original, written for the C3 congregation during a particularly rough patch for us when many families were losing loved ones (it was something like 20 families in three months). Also "Alas and Did My Savior Bleed" is an original arrangement (I'm told that's not an oxymoron). The hymn itself is originally in a major key, which to my ears sounded ... off. In fact, the lyrics and the melody were such a mismatch, I almost didn't use it. But when I simply changed the whole song into harmonic minor (which does slightly alter the melody), the song came alive. Both were really well received.

 Here’s what the whole gathering looked like for us this year.
Lament (ReCreate Us) | Chris Logan
Call to Worship | Covenant Book of Worship
The Power of Your Name | Lincoln Brewster
The Shadow of Prophesy | Isaiah 53, abridged
The Shadow of the Passion | Luke 23:26-43
The Wonderful Cross | arr. Chris Tomlin
The Shadow of the Suffering Servant | Matthew 27:45-49, Psalm 22, abridged; responsive
The Shadow of Grief | John 19:25-27
Alas and Did My Savior Bleed | arr. Chris Logan
Litany of Confession and Pardon (responsive)
The Shadow of Betrayal | Matthew 26:17-30
He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word | Choir; pass out communion elements
The Shadow of Communion | Covenant Book of Worship Unity Litany, responsive
Partake in Communion Together
O Vos Omnes | Choir
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded | arr. Fernando Ortega
The Shadow of the Grave | Luke 23:44-49, John 19:38-42
Ring a bell seven times | leave in silence
The full scope of the sanctuary

1 comment:

DG said...

Sorry to miss this. It sounds like it was very well done.