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The service of Tenebrae—or darkness—is used to emphasize the awful consequence of sin and the magnitude of the Savior’s suffering. Darkness gradually overtakes the light as we journey closer to the death of Jesus as a reminder of the spiritual darkness that would exist had the Light not come into the world. While most of the candles are extinguished, the Christ candle remains lit – a symbol of hope in the darkness. The Christ candle is later removed, signifying the death and burial of Jesus. A loud sound known as the Strepitus follows as the tomb is closed and sealed.
Yet despite the darkness of Good Friday, hope remains. The Christ candle returns at the end of the service, pointing to the triumph that would come on Easter Sunday. We leave in silence, contemplating the cost of our sins, but confident in the forgiveness we receive in Jesus.