It takes a holy thing to hush a crowd. We are pressed in tightly on hard wooden pews, amplified voices from the choir sound above our heads, the lights are dim, the readings stark, our responses starker still. How do you find holy in the darkness? How do you find hope in the death? "My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?"
His voice sounds behind us, rich, deep, timbre, wrought with emotion.
It is dark.
We are a thousand people in a cathedral and time slows, no one coughs, no one whispers, no one cries, no one breathes. It is a holy thing to hush a crowd.
And then, "It is finished."
No one speaks. We gather our things, our bags, our books, and our sins back from the foot of the cross and we leave the site of holiness.
He left the sight of holiness. Forsaken, not forgotten. Cast low and far from a broken hearted father.
He gathered our sins from the foot of the cross, from the mouths of angry wives, from the apathies of their husbands, from computer screens and back alleys, from brothels and gun chambers, from my living room and your bedroom, from the deepest and sickest parts of our hearts.
And he left.
Tenebrae, Latin for "shadows" or "darkness," is a service celebrated during the last three days of Holy Week. More here.