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A Good Friday Tenebrae Service

ABOUT THIS SERVICE: This service focuses on the Seven Last Words of Christ and is patterned after the ancient office of Tenebrae. The word “Tenebrae” means darkness. The purpose of the service is to impress upon us the terrible reality of sin, which caused our Savior to die for us. The service begins with the stripping of the altar. As Jesus was stripped for crucifixion, so our altar and chancel are laid bare in remembrance of His great suffering. As the service continues, you will hear your Savior speak His last words, which are recorded for us in the four Gospels. Each reading is followed by a brief devotion, silence, prayer, and a hymn. After each of the 7 Words is read, a candle is extinguished, causing the chancel to become increasingly darkened. By this we are reminded of the darkness that covered the earth at the time our Lord’s crucifixion. It also serves as a reminder of the spiritual darkness that would exist had the Light of the world not come. The exit of the Christ Candle, near the close of the service, signifies Christ’s death and burial. Then there is a loud noise, symbolizing the closing of the tomb. The Christ Candle will reappear at the Easter Festival Service in celebration of the resurrection.

SILENT PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP: Lord Jesus Christ, as I meditate in this service on Your death for me, let those final sentences which You spoke from the cross impart a personal blessing, that I may both worship in spirit and truth and be moved to sacrifice my whole life as an offering to You. Amen.

STRIPPING OF THE ALTAR – Psalm 22 is read

GATHERING WORDSbased on Lamentations 1:12

P: In the Name of the Father, and the Son +, and the Holy Spirit.
P: All you who pass this way
C: look and see the shadow of sin.
P: All you who pass this way
C: look and see the weight of the world.
P: All you who pass this way
C: look and see the suffering of our Savior.
P: All you who pass this way
C: look and see the sorrow of Jesus Christ.
P: Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Let us pray:
C: Almighty God, graciously behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, to be given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

VIDEOOn the Cross

THE FIRST WORDForgiveness – Luke 23:26-27, 32-34a

HYMNChrist, the Life of All the Living – LSB 420 vv. 1,6

THE SECOND WORDParadise – Luke 23:35-43

HYMNThe Old Rugged Cross

THE THIRD WORDMother and Son – John 19:25-27

HYMNLamb of God – LSB 550

THE FOURTH WORDForsaken – Mark 15:33-34

HYMNAmazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

THE FIFTH WORDThirst – John 19:28-29

HYMNO Dearest Jesus, What Law Has Thou Broken – LSB 439 vv. 1,3,4

THE SIXTH WORDFinish – John 19:30a

HYMNWhen I Survey the Wondrous Cross – LSB 425 vv. 1-3

THE SEVENTH WORDSpirit – Luke 23:44-47

VIDEOBehold His Glory



P: Remember us in your Kingdom, O Lord, and teach us to pray:
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.