Good Friday Tenebrae Service with Rutter Requiem

On March 25th we will observe Good Friday at Sterling United Methodist Church with a Tenebrae candlelight service combined with the Rutter Requiem.  This service will feature our Aldersgate Choir, several instrumentalists, and the changeless scriptural account of Good Friday.  The music is haunting, transcendent, and sorrowful.  Please join us in this emotional, ancient service on March 25th at 7:00 PM.  Children are welcome to attend and will be provided with corresponding activities during the service.

Tenebrae is Latin for “shadows” or “darkness.”  A Tenebrae service is a candlelight service celebrated during Holy Week with scripture readings and music and the gradual extinguishing of candles.  The purpose of the service is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the events surrounding Christ’s crucifixion, and it ends on a somber note in complete darkness as the last candle is extinguished, symbolizing Christ’s death.  The story seems unfinished, because the story isn’t over until Easter Day.

Our Tenebrae service will utilize portions of Rutter’s Requiem as part of the music and scripture readings.  A requiem is a musical composition for a church service (originally Catholic Mass) for the repose of the souls of the dead, a token of remembrance.

About Rutter Requiem: John Rutter’s Requiem was completed and first performed at Lovers’ Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas, in 1985. The setting utilizes a choir with an orchestral accompaniment along with a soprano soloist.

The first movement consists of the Introit from the Requiem (Requiem aeternam) and the Kyrie.

The second movement is entitled Out of the Deep, and is based on Psalm 130, a psalm commonly used at Anglican funerals. It contains a prominent cello solo written in C minor.

The third movement is the motet Pie Jesu. It begins with a soprano soloist singing with a very light accompaniment, with only slight involvement of the chorus echoing the words “Dona eis requiem, Dona eis sempiternam requiem”: (translation:  “Pious Lord Jesus, Give them everlasting rest,”  “pious” signifying Jesus’ obedience to His Father, God, in going to the Cross of Calvary.

The fourth movement is the Sanctus (with Benedictus) and it is a bright and lively movement which is orchestrated with bells, flute, and oboe and occasional timpani recalling the passage in Old Testament scripture in Isaiah 6, and the worship of the six-winged seraphim in the heavenly throne room of God.

The fifth movement is the Agnus Dei of the Requiem.

The sixth movement is Psalm 23, another psalm commonly used at Anglican funerals.

The seventh movement includes words from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Burial Service

(“I heard a voice from heaven…”) and the communion chant from Requiem (Lux aeterna).

The work lasts about 40 minutes.  We look forward to this wonderful worshipful and musical service.