Please join us for this special virtual Tenebrae service featuring several pastors from around the country and will be available in video form on our Facebook page or through a shared link.
This service is an adaptation of the early 4th century Office of Tenebrae. Tenebrae, which is Latin for “shadow,” is an ancient ceremony of extinguishing candles that symbolize the presence of Christ, “the light of the world.” Throughout the Tenebrae Service, candles will be progressively extinguished until only the solitary Christ candle remains. When done in a sanctuary, the space will also be gradually stripped of the symbols that point to Christ. The act of darkening and stripping the church portrays the flight of the disciples, the hostility that led to Christ’s crucifixion, and the experience of entering the darkness as Christ is taken from the world.
This Tenebrae Service will be lead by LGBTQI+ faith leaders, and their homilies will all speak to the ways members of the LGBTQI+ community are betrayed, abandoned, denied, and even attacked by the Church. This particular service demonstrates how the LGBTQI+ community identifies with Christ’s passion and suffering at the hands of those who are supposed to love and embrace them. Therefore, Christ’s story is also the story of the LGBTQI+ community.
Following the final song the bell will toll 33 times for each year of Christ’s life, and the Christ candle will be extinguished, leaving you in complete darkness in recognition of the reality of the death of Jesus Christ and of many of our LGBTQI+ siblings throughout time and space.
Today’s service is meant to not only remember the passion of Christ, but also to raise awareness about the injustices suffered by the LGBTQI+ community, especially at the hands of the Church. Since its founding, Open Table UCC has been dedicated to erasing injustice enacted against the LGBTQI+ community. Therefore, we founded Prism United, a non-profit in Mobile, Alabama that provides comprehensive support for LGBTQI+ youth and their families. Prism United’s mission is to give LGBTQI+ youth the space to “Find Community. Be Yourself.” So, please consider giving to Prism United by going to www.prismunited.org. We also encourage you to support your local LGBTQI+ support organizations.