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Culte liturgique des Ténèbres, « de Tenebrae »
by William Jones

Good Friday: O Sacred Head Surrounded
Ô douloureux visage De mon humble Seigneur ;Ô tête sous l’outrage, Ô front sous la douleur. Plein des beautés divines, dans les cieux infinis, C’est couronné d’épines que je te vois ici.
Thy comeliness and vigour is withered up and gone, and in thy wasted figure I see death drawing on. O agony and dying! O love to sinners free! Jesu, all grace supplying, turn thou thy face on me.
C’est toi que ma main blesse, C’est moi qui suis guéri ; C’est moi qui me redresse, C’est toi qui es meurtri. Quel étrange partage De ma vie et ta mort, Où ta mort est le gage Que la vie est mon sort.
In this thy bitter passion, good Shepherd, think of me with thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be: beneath thy Cross abiding for ever would I rest, in thy dear love confiding, and with thy presence blest.
“Tenebrae” a Latin word meaning “shadows” or “darkness”. Celebrated on Good Friday in many Christian Churches since at least the 9th century, this service takes its name from the extinction of lights in commemoration of the events of the Passion.
The shadow of the Cross turns our gaze to the Light of Christ. The candles are extinguished, one after the other, each stage illustrating an extract from the Passion as recounted in the Scriptures. The seventh candle, representing Christ, will not be extinguished, but moved out of the worship space.
The darkness of misunderstanding, John 12: 27-36
The darkness of betrayal, Matthew 26: 20-25
The darkness of temptation, Matthew 26: 36-46
The darkness of injustice, Mark 14: 55-65
The darkness of denial, Mark 14: 66-72
The darkness of rejection, Luke 23: 13-24
The darkness of crucifixion
Luke 23: 33-48, John 19:30, Matthew 27:46-49, 51
Each reading ends with prayers and contemplations, and the singing of a refrain:
« La ténèbre n’est point ténèbre devant toi. La nuit comme le jour est lumière. Our darkness is never darkness in your sight. The deepest night is clear as daylight.”
We wait in darkness for his return. We end the service in darkness, but not without hope.
The light of Christ continues to shine: at the end of death, there is no death, but the light of the Resurrection that will be celebrated on Easter morning.”

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