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Tenebrae is the Latin term for shadows.  It is a meditative service of lessons and worship, accompanied by the gradual extinguishing of lights and candles which symbolise the gathering darkness of the passion of our Lord.  The lessons concentrate on the events of the evening before the crucifixion and as such, Tenebrae connects the themes and happenings of Palm Sunday with those of Good Friday.


Choose one person to lead the opening liturgy. They will say the words in normal text and others respond with the words in bold.

Before you start the service, try to set up 8 candles on a table in the shape of a cross



Thursday 9th April

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Worship Video

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Worship Video

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  Grace, mercy and peace

  from God our Father

  and the Lord Jesus Christ

  be with you

All:      and also with you

May the Father forgive us

by the death of his Son

and strengthen us

to live in the power of the Spirit

all our days.

All    Amen.


A few moments of quiet refelction


Have mercy on us, O God,

in your great goodness;

according to the abundance of your compassion

blot out our offences.

Lord, have mercy.

All     Lord, have mercy.

Against you only have we sinned

and done what is evil in your sight.

Christ, have mercy.

All     Christ, have mercy.

Purge us from our sin and we shall be clean;

wash us and we shall be whiter than snow.

Lord, have mercy.

All     Lord, have mercy.


Our Lord Jesus Christ says:

‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’

‘Unless I wash you, you have no part in me.’

‘Let us confess to almighty God our sins against his love,

and ask him to cleanse us.

Explanation of Tenebrae

As we now hear the readings of the narratives of that last night, the candles are extinguished, symbolising the advancing darkness that came over Jesus with the flight of his disciples, the bitter hatred of his enemies and the looming shadow of the cross.


After each reading extinguish one candle, leaving the centre one until last.  


At the end of the service have a short time of total darkness where we recall the time Jesus spent in the tomb. 


Then relight the central candle to remind us of the victory of Easter. 


The service then ends in silence.

Maudy Thursday
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Please prepare humbly, worship deeply and end quietly this evening with your heart centred on the suffering of Christ for you and your salvation.

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