For a few years now I've been fascinated by the traditional Good Friday service known as "Tenebrae" which translates from Latin as "shadows" or "darkness". It is distinctive for its gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings and psalms is chanted or recited.
As we walked through the story leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and watched the light of life snuffed out by human hands we went from a loud, full band to solo a cappella. On top of using a traditional service pattern I thought it'd be incredible to only sing reworked hymns as the theology and depth of these old lyrics are so rich.
Jonathan opened our service with this liturgy:
Giver of life, we wait with you to offer the hope that comes from the cross to earth’s darkest places.
Where pain is deep and affection is denied:
let love break through.
Where justice is destroyed,
let sensitivity to right spring up.
Where hope is crucified,
let faith persist.
Where peace has no chance,
let passion live on.
Where truth is trampled underfoot,
let the struggle continue.
Where fear paralyzes,
let forgiveness break through.
Eternal God, reach into the silent darkness of our souls with the radiance of the cross.
O you who are the bearer of all pain,
have mercy on us.
Giver of life,
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us. Amen.
HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US - KENOSIS
Travis Eades, Forefront Manhattan's Associate Pastor, introduced me to this version of this song and I loved how the breaks in between the lines allows you to take in the lyrics slowly.
JESUS PAID IT ALL - KRISTIAN STANFILL
Kristian Stanfill added a bridge to this hymn and brought it back into the mainstream again.
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD
This has to be one of my all time favourite hymns and I believe we've sung it at every Good Friday service since I've been on staff at Forefront. There are so many different versions & every worship leader has their own version. I love All Sons and Daughters sound so I thought I'd put up their version.
'TIS A POINT I LONG TO KNOW/HOW HE LOVES
Full disclosure - I found this old hymn by John Newton at 1pm on Good Friday. I had been searching for a song that would be sung as a response to our reading of Peter's denial but it seems that the church doesn't love singing about how we betray our Lord.
So after my using my brains trust at the Liturgy Fellowship I found a scrap of this hymn on Youtube. I instantly liked it and bounced it off Lindsey to see if I wasn't alone.
We've often used the chorus of "How He Loves" in a medley at church and I loved how this melody fitted over the minor key of this hymn lament and acted as a counterpoint to the lyrics which are full of doubt and self loathing.
I've uploaded our version here on the right
HE NEVER SAID A MUMBLIN' WORD - WELCOME WAGON
Even though I wanted to go completely with hymns I cheated on this one a little bit. I heard this first at a house show in Williamsburg a few months back and was instantly taken by it. The simple and chant like nature of this song mirrors hymn like structures and I thought it would fit in the mix easily. The Welcome Wagon is a married couple, the Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique, who are based at Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg.
WERE YOU THERE
Amy Leon did such an incredible rendition of this to close out our service and I'll get it uploaded online soon. She was inspired by this version below on the left & her version is on the right