The much-awaited description of the Tenebrae service:
I admit I had never heard of this until about two weeks ago (although I believe Maria Trapp makes reference to it in her book, The Sound of Music), so I had a very fresh slate with which to participate on Friday. It is a service of darkness, beginning in a dimly-lit room and ending in a completely darkened one, which symbolises the darkness over the earth when Jesus was on the cross.
Each of the seven statements of Jesus from the cross was read in turn. After each reading, the congregation read aloud a "confessionary prayer", which was followed by a hymn. After each hymn, one of the candles on the stage was extinguished. At the same time, a light switch in the room was turned off, so that the room was darkened a little at a time. At the end, all candles were out, all lights were off, and we all exited the room silently. (We had been asked to exit the building as silently as possible as well, but there was quite a bit of whispered fellowship going on in the foyer.)
That brief description does not really do the evening justice, but I don't really know how to go into more detail. As I said before, I strongly encourage anyone who has the chance to take part in such a service next year-- it is well worth it.