Last night we attended the Good Friday Tenebrae service at our church. It was a very moving service of readings. We started with the sanctuary alive with light and ended with it in darkness except for the Christ candle which stood at the foot of the cross. It was powerful. Here are the readings that most impacted me.
It is in the darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure. (Thomas Merton)
To each one of us Chris is saying: If you want your life and mission to be fruitful, like mine, do as I do. Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried. Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid. Those who shun suffering will remain alone. No one is more alone than the selfish. But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest. (Oscar Romero)
And out of my reflections came this poem:
Today we mourn.
For promises unfulfilled
for wholeness unrealized
for brokenness still afflicting.
Today there is only darkness.
Our hopes are buried
our longings shrouded
our desires entombed.
Today the grave engulfs us.
We walk in hell
empty, stripped of life
no light only darkness.
Today God seems to have failed.
Yet here we find freedom
Between death and resurrection
This is the night which empties us
and makes us whole.