We had our Tenebrae service Friday evening at church. "Tenebrae" means "The Darkening," or "Service of Darkness." It takes place completely in the dark, lit by candles. Up until the Last Supper, we listen to Jesus' birth, life, and the promises foretold. As we go, candles are lit. Then all is black save the candles, and from that point on, the candles are extinguished, from Judas' betrayal to the last words of Jesus. The last line is "Jesus bowed his head and died." At that exact moment, the final candle (which was the first candle lit, the Christ candle) goes out. And all is dark, all is quiet. The hymn "Day is Dying" plays, and absolute silence and darkness remains. In the darkness, we all sit, then quietly get up and leave. The lights will not be on again for three days.
That summary does no justice to Tenebrae. You'd have to see it yourself. It's sobering, grim, dark, intense...the entire Christian experience wrapped into two breathtaking hours of darkening lights. You move from singing and dancing to knowing fear, heart crying with each passing moment more fervent: "Don't go out; don't go out!" But the light goes out, and darkness remains.
Thank G-d, he didn't stay dead! That Light is Life, and it is the Life of men. Don't be afraid; he couldn't stay dead.
He is risen; he is risen indeed. Shalom.