[Snuff.] [One.] [BOOM.]

The service of Tenebrae (or shadows) has always been one of my favorite services in the Christian year. Year after year when I was a child, my father would let me stand in the back of the church waiting for that moment in the service when he extinguished the last candle [snuff] signifying the death of Our Lord. I would then do a slow second’s count [one] before slamming the slick side of a hymnal perfectly against the back of a pew [boom]. It was somber, sobering, thrilling, and powerful to be a part.

We’ve played a part in this whole story leading up to crucifixion, and now here we are, shaken once again to be a part of today’s story: our God dies. Why put it any other way? Our eternal God dies. Instead of asking how it’s possible, ask what it could mean for us to say such a thing. Even in death, God is. And yet, in some way, because God dies, God is not. God is utterly beyond our comprehension, beyond our language, beyond our own creation. We say that Christ was arrested—literally, stopped. Christ is limited—which is part of the whole Christmas story of incarnation in the first place: the limitless God puts on limitation by putting on human flesh and bone. The uncreated God shares createdness with us. And today, God is dead.

We know that Christ is risen… so for a moment, have enough faith not to rush on to Easter. Don’t rush to conclusions. Play your part. Dwell here awhile with the dispersed disciples, the weeping women, the torn veil in the Temple, the darkness over the land. In this grim, war-torn, apocalyptic landscape where we are all dying, God is here… because God dies, too.

[Snuff.] [One.] [BOOM.]

Drew Willson