March 28 – Maundy Thursday is observed during HolyWeek on the Thursday before Easter.. Also referred to as “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” in some Christian denominations, Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when Christians worship their resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal.
On Maundy Thursday we will have our Tenebrae Service. The name Tenebrae is the Latin word for “darkness” or “shadows.” We will experience only a small portion of Christ’s pain and suffering the day of His crucifixion. One of the most conspicuous features of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles until only a single candle, considered a symbol of our Lord, remains. As it gets darker and darker we can reflect on the great emotional and physical pain that was very real for Jesus that evening. Toward the end of the service, the Christ candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil over good. At the very end, a loud noise is made, symbolizing the earthquake at the time of his death (Matthew 27) and his resurrection (Matthew 28:2). At the moment of the earthquake, the temple veil was torn apart, making the Holy of Holies exposed to public view. This is understood to represent God’s change toward us with direct access to him, no longer requiring the ceremonial acts of the priests for our forgiveness of sin. We all depart this service in silence.
Don’t miss this powerful service as we head toward Easter Sunday.