I have never enjoyed Easter as a pastor. For those who have attended my church this is not shocking as I tend to not like most any holiday. But how can I not enjoy Easter? This was a discussion I had last Easter with my son-in-law, Matt Miller. It was at my house after the service and he had just thanked me for my message. I believe I just shook my head and said that I did not enjoy the sermon at all as I preached it. I explained that it always felt forced, like I “had” to do a resurrection sermon every Easter and how it was a struggle to make it fresh. That’s when, without meaning to, he rebuked me. He commented on how he did not think I needed to be fresh, that there was true value in repetition of certain things.
That is when he uttered a word I had never heard before, “Tenebrae,” which is Latin for darkness or shadows. Turns out that he attended a Tenebrae service at his seminary on Good Friday. He spoke of how it left a deep impact on his mind, how leaving the service with everyone else in total silence and how leaving it with one thought on his mind, Jesus was dead, weighed heavily on his thoughts leading up the Easter Sunday. Then on Sunday he gathered with Missio Dei and rejoiced with everyone over Jesus’ resurrection.
And with that, a decision was made in my mind and then confirmed by the other elders that we would have a Tenebrae Service this year. I want to invite all to come and remember the crucifixion of our Lord. I want you to bring your children so that they can see and hear that sobering event played out. It will be slightly less than one hour of Scripture readings and singing. It will be interactive and serious.
And then come back on Sunday with the anticipation of our Lord who is not dead! No, He is alive and in that resurrection defeated our great enemy, death.