2016-03-21 / Local News

Church issues invitation to Tenebrae service

Limestone Presbyterian Church

Limestone Presbyterian’s flower-covered cross. Limestone Presbyterian’s flower-covered cross. To impress on the minds and hearts of believers the awful consequences of sin and the magnitude of the Savior’s sacrifice, the ancient church held a special service, called Tenebrae, in the last days of Holy Week, usually on Thursday.

The word, Tenebrae, means “darkness.” It comes from the ceremony, carried out in this service, of extinguishing the candles in the “Tenebrae hearse,” or sevenfold candle stand, one by one.

The service celebrated this year at Limestone Presbyterian Church is an adaptation of the medieval Tenebrae. The extinguishing of the candles is to remind us of the events that led to the awful darkness that covered the earth when Jesus hung on the cross.

One candle remains burning throughout the service to symbolize that even in the midst of death and darkness the forces of hell shall not prevail against the light of Christ Jesus.

His resurrection is sure. He lives eternally. And we, too, shall live! The Tenebrae service will begin at 6 p.m. in the chapel and will last approximately 30 minutes, said Pastor Nathan Wheeler.

“This is a very family-friendly service and all invited to come-as you-are,” Wheeler said.

The church’s Easter service will begin at 11 a.m. March 27, highlighted by the annual flower-covered cross in the sanctuary.

“This tradition began in the mid-1970s,” according to Dean Wyatt, chair of the worship team. “Beginning on the first Sunday in Lent, prayer slips are placed on the cross during services and on Easter morning, church members cover the cross with flowers brought by members of the congregation,” Wyatt said.

The cross idea was originated by Mary Ellen Thompson and Frances Bramlett Larue when George Ducker was the pastor.

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