This contemplative, meditative service has ancient roots, going back over 1100 years. As readings from the oldest Gospel are shared, describing the final hours of Jesus’ life, candles are slowly extinguished, until the whole sanctuary is dark. We try to enter into that feeling of hopelessness that must have gripped those early witnesses of this event, as a way to face the grief and hopelessness we all sometimes find in our own lives. After all, “Tenebrae” comes from the Latin word for darkness and shadow.
Medieval Christian Tenebraes often included commentaries from important theologians explaining what these events “really meant,” but in the spirit of our UU faith we’ll be including instead readings from diverse contemporary thinkers (including feminist, black, LGBTQ, humanist, Buddhist, and others) on this story and its themes.