My first tenebrae service.
It was the first time it had ever really occured to me and sunk in how the disciples and friends and family of Jesus didn’t know the end of the story. Oh yes, I know they’d been told, but how many of us really listen to what we’re told? The desolation of the events of that Friday and the darkness of the soul in experiencing that terrible loss -watching your friend die the most brutal of deaths, knowing this is the end of all your hopes and dreams, seeing no future. It hit home to me following a visual meditation provided by someone at Church of Fools which simply ended “He is Dead” to which I found myself thinking almost in a panic “No, it can’t end there… you have to mention the resurrection…” But for the disciples there wasn’t that reassurance, was there?
The Tenebrae service was amazing. Thanks to Ian I knew roughly what to expect. It was held in out beautiful little 10th century church, although the middle of the afternoon meant the sun was blazing through the old stained glass windows and falling on the cross, where I’d sort of expected darkness. With a combination of readings by just two voices, and the most amazing meditative music, I found myself becoming stilled. Deep down. There was just me and God there, and an incredible stillness of spirit, and a single tear escaped and ran down my cheek almost unnoticed. Amazing – I felt as though I never wanted to break that moment.
It was doubly amazing seeing as I ended up taking Dad and the two boys with me rather than, as I’d hoped, leaving them all at home. I felt bad for wanting an hour’s break from them, and to experience the service without the three of them shuffling about and whispering to each other. In fact, it’s a deep shame that I feel that way, but I can’t deny that’s how I felt when Dad announced he wanted to come and bring the boys. The funny thing was that I suddenly, half way through the service, remembered about the loud noise. How to get a warning to them to prevent Dad having a heart attack and the boys starting to giggle? I didn’t want to break the silence and the sense of solitariness which was so precious, but there was nothing for it. I had to warn them, so I tried to find a moment when it was least obtrusive to lean across and whisper the message to each of them. Then, would you believe it, the vicar didn’t do the loud noise bit. Maybe because the majority of the small congregation were extremely elderly, although M later said that she’d never heard of doing a loud noise at all in any of the tenebrae services she’d been to. Strange.
This morning I am dealing with frustration again over the whole respite business. I won’t go into detail about the “discussion” I had with Dad this morning other than to say at the moment that I wish I’d never got myself into this situation at all. I’m tempted to ask him if he’d like to pay me £400 to stay at home for the weekend, except that at the moment I’d give anything to pack a bag and disappear.