Good Friday

(from the Lutheran Church of the Master’s monthly publication, ‘The Mast’)

A common service for Good Friday is Tenebrae (Lati n for “shadows”, or “darkness”).

Sometimes this term is applied generally to all church services on the last three days of  Holy week. More specifically, however, it is used of the Service of Darkness or Service of Shadows, usually held in the evening of Good Friday.

Again, there are varieties of this service, but it is usually characterized by a series of Scripture readings and meditation done in stages while lights and/or candles are gradually extinguished to symbolize the growing darkness not only of Jesus’ death  but of hopelessness in the world without God.

The service ends in darkness, sometimes with a final candle, the Christ candle, carried out of the sanctuary, symbolizing the death of Jesus.

The worshippers then leave in silence to await the Easter celebration.


Good Friday services have fallen on hard times in many churches these days. Many churches do not have services on Good Friday.

Those that do have seen a large drop off in attendance.  This is true for the congregation of which I am a member.

Why would you think that is?

What good can come from a service such as this?