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, WorshipTenebrae Worship with Communion
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IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP

The Maundy Thursday Order of Holy Communion is an adaptation of an ancient Office   observed on Thursday of Holy Week, or sometimes on Friday. The people enter silently and meditate upon the fact that it was on this night that our Lord stood in the shadow of the cross. The gradual extinguishing of the lights is symbolic of the nearness of death. The moment of total darkness recalls the days our Lord was in the tomb.

Ordinarily the scripture lessons of the Tenebrae service are taken from the Gospel stories of the Upper Room, the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, Caiaphas’ trial, and Pilate’s interrogation, all of which occurred on Thursday night or Friday morning. This Lent at Kenilworth Union, however, we have been studying the seven last words of Christ from the cross, so it seems meet this solemn evening to keep company with those scriptures yet again. As the words are read, we will extinguish the light to symbolize the lengthening shadows falling across Christ’s earthly existence, and the imminent approach of the three days of darkness. From first to last, it is a solemn observance.

THE OFFICE OF TENEBRAE LITURGY