Other Services For Holy Week

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Following are services that may be used in a number of different worship settings of Holy Week. Of particular interest are the various services of Tenebrae and the Way of the Cross. These services order the spiritual pilgrimage of the congregation and communicate the significance of the death of Jesus in a dramatic way.

An Introduction To Tenebrae Worship

The word tenebrae means "darkness" and refers specifically to a service of worship in which the progressive extinguishing of candles represent the snuffing out of the life of Christ. It is becoming an increasingly popular devotion for Holy Week and is celebrated on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of Holy Week.

A Service Of Tenebrae

The Tenebrae service is one of prolonged meditation on the suffering of Christ. Various readings trace the story of Christ's passion, the music expresses his pathos, and the darkness with the accompanying silence suggests the drama of this momentous day.

A Psalm/tenebrae Service

The Tenebrae service that features the extinguishing of lights to represent the fading life of Jesus may take many forms. The Tenebrae service that follows is reading or singing of the Psalms.

A Combined Tenebrae And Seven Last Words Service

Tenebrae has been observed in the church since the fourth century. In this service, the church remembers the death of Jesus and recalls his seven last words on the cross. The gradual extinguishing of the candles is accompanied by prayers, hymns, choral anthems, and readings from Scripture.

The Way Of The Cross Service

The Way of the Cross service below is especially designed for use in the free church tradition. Adapt to local usage and style.

A Combined Way Of The Cross And Tenebrae Service

The service below requires two narrators, a song leader, three characters dressed in black (one of whom carries a cross and represents Jesus), one or two people to extinguish candles, two readers, and a person to offer prayer. The room should be semidark. Ten candles should be lit; one will represent Christ and should be larger or made of a different color.

A Mime For The Stations Of The Cross Service

The following mime outlines the stations of the cross. It may be used in conjunction with either of the two previous services, or in conjunction with another service presented earlier in this section.

Guidelines For The Christian Use Of The Seder

In recent years it has become popular for congregations to conduct the Passover meal, or some combination of the Seder and Communion during Holy Week, particularly on Maundy Thursday. This article challenges such practices, urging Christians to observe the Seder authentically. Full Seder services are usually available through local bookstores.

A Service For Holy Saturday

The third day of the triduum is a day for silence. During this day, Christians may gather for prayer, to feel the silence and to sense the weight of Jesus' death. This service prepares worshipers for the Great Paschal Vigil on Saturday evening.