Last night was our Tenebrae service, not something that is practiced in many Christian churches much less the Episcopal Church. But we have a five-year tradition going. The service has evolved each year. Last night we started with some of the church’s artificial light on and with candles all around the altar. We chanted the Psalms, had three readings, extinguishing candles as we went. When it came time for the 51st Psalm all artificial light was turned off. And then for the Eucharist only the two altar candles and the Christ candle were lit. Communion was celebrated in the light of three candles. It was a lovely service and well attended by our standards, nearly 40 were present.
By observation there were folks there from our Sunday eight o’clock Rite One service and young adults from St. Brigid’s Community. However, there was a noticeable absent from our Sunday nine o’clock, traditional Rite 2 BCP with organ, crowd. Where were they? Why didn’t they attend this service? I have noticed that the Rite One crowd attends the Wednesday night healing services with an occasional St. Brigid’s person thrown in. Where are the traditional 1979 BCP with organ people?
Is the idea of healing, chanting, and praying in the dark foreign to foreign to that generation? It is my generation, but I love the service – what’s going on here? Have these folks been infected by the “happy Jesus, life is always about Resurrection, theology?” There is something here and I can’t quite get my theological finger on it – just yet – but I will keep mulling it over.