During the church services on
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday:
Reflect and meditate on the last
words of Christ spoken from that cross: words of grace, love, hope, agony,
suffering, finality, and rest.
Remember the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ for the atonement of our sins.
Recognize the gravity of our sin
that caused him the agony.
Repent and turn to God for
Realize the greatness of the Holy
Trinity, the one and only God who saves.
Respond to the Lord in reverent
worship, prayer, and obedience.
On Maundy Thursday we share in the
Tenebrae liturgy. The purpose of the Tenebrae liturgy is to recreate the
excruciating emotional aspects of the passion of Christ. It is a solemn service,
because the occasion it reflects on is a sombre one. The deeply felt love for
Jesus that holds on to his sacrifice brings us to stand in awe, to remember
with reverence, to love passionately and to be grateful beyond the possibility
of the expression of words and actions.
On Maundy Thursday we meditate on
the fact that it was on the Thursday evening before Good Friday that Jesus and
his disciples were together for the last time, when he and they stood in the
shadow of the cross, when he washed their feet and instituted the Holy
It is to stand in the shadows
within the darkness of Christ’s suffering.
It is keeping watch with the Lord.
The gradual extinguishing of the
lights and candles is symbolic of the advancing darkness that came over Jesus because
of the flight, the denial and betrayal of his disciples, the bitter hate of his
enemies, the shadows of the cross.
The minutes of total darkness
recalls the time when he was in the tomb.
And the relighting of the central
candle is a prophecy of Easter so soon to dawn.
The purpose of the service is to
recreate the abandonment and agony of the events, and it is left unfinished,
because the story isn’t over until Sunday – Resurrection Day. At Tenebrae we remember
Christ’s love and divine commitment to us, God’s people. And because the
outcome is not on Thursday, or Friday – the final word, the final blessing, the
amazing light comes on Sunday.
There can be no faith without
listening to what Jesus said on the cross.
There can be no joy of atonement,
without the death of the Sacrificial Lamb.
There can be no joy of life,
without the dreadful death of the Saviour.
There can be no joy of Paradise,
without the Redeemer’s forsakenness by God.
There is no forgiveness without the
bitter pain of repentance.
There is no grace and mercy,
without the wrath of God satisfied.
There is no salvation, without God
acting to redeem us by his Son.
There is no joy of thanksgiving, without reverent worship and prayer.