Christians, the Rev. Doug Dortch fears, often move too quickly from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection. Calvary barely gets a pause.
That’s why he likes the Tenebrae service ”” what he calls the “best-kept secret about Christian worship” ”” during Holy Week. Tenebrae, the Latin word for shadows, attempts to recreate the emotional atmosphere of Christ’s passion by extinguishing candles or lights, one by one, throughout the service, which ends in complete darkness and silence.
“The service enables Christians to identify with the betrayal and abandonment and agony of the crucifixion,” said Dortch, pastor of First Baptist Church. “It’s highly experiential.”
He said it answers the age-old question ”” raised by many of the “new atheists” today ”” “how bad things can happen to good people.”
“The only answer that can be given, I think, on this side of the grave, is that God is present with us in the pain and the suffering, just as he was with Jesus,” he said.