Maundy Thursday April 14, 2022 TENEBRAE SERVICE
Definitions for the service:
The name “Maundy” comes from the Latin antiphon Mandatum Novum, i.e. “a new mandate.” This new mandate from Jesus is taken from John 13:34: “love one another as I have loved you.” Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy in that name for the day is derived through Middle English mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give to you, love one another as I have loved you”). That statement is the one Jesus made as recorded in the Gospel of John (13:34) when he is explaining to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet—an action he carried out the night before his death. By instituting the Lord’s Supper and by demonstrating his servant-position for us, Jesus established a new mandate of radical presence and love.
“Tenebrae”, or “Service of Shadows,” is one of the oldest traditions in the Christian church for the commemoration of the passion and death of Christ. Through scripture readings and hymns the story of Christ’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion is told. As the Passion story unfolds, candles are extinguished and the darkness deepens, until with the death of Christ, only one light is left burning. This light is removed from the sanctuary, symbolizing Christ’s three days in the tomb.
The “strepitus” is a loud noise, signifying the earthquake and the closing of the tomb. Following the strepitus, the Christ Candle is brought back into the sanctuary, in anticipation of our Lord’s resurrection, and the lights are turned on.