Pauls Valley Democrat
With each Easter comes a chance for churches to celebrate Christ’s victory over death, though much of why the day has so much meaning comes from the days leading up to his sacrifice.
Keeping the tradition of those final days relevant for another year are the combined efforts of Pauls Valley’s First Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church through the annual Tenebrae service, this coming Good Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The event once again invites anyone who can make it to what is primarily an evening of somber reflection where FCC Pastor Peggy D. Farris will oversee both a message through scripture and music.
“It isn’t a real happy service, but it’s a meaningful service,” said Farris, who is for the second year leading the service at the host church, First Christian.
“Having the churches together you bring two different denominations with different traditions.”
Also part concert led by FCC choir director Reba Jo Ward and Presbyterian choir director Barbara Hagist on piano, each of the songs featured by the ensemble will reflect the scriptures telling the story of Jesus continuing his mission despite knowing that one of his disciples would betray him, said Farris.
After each song a candle will be extinguished and will continue until the Christ candle goes out as well as the sound of a nail being hammered, ending the service in darkness in order to give people time to reflect further the three days leading to Easter.
“I like the way they are so intentive having the right song with the right message,” said Farris. “To have the message through song, the people relate to that.”
While this is the second such service for Farris, it has been over a couple of decades in a row for Ward, who admitted how she needed a little encouragement to keep it going this time around. She said what has most acted as motivation is that she believes this is what God has called her to do and loves the continued message of unity the night sends out.
“Barbara and I have always tried to find songs that fit the story,” said Ward, adding with a laugh how she’d like to swap the Good Friday service with Christmas, which is normally done by the Presbyterians, next year so she can pick the happier songs. “It all started because we went there for Christmas.”
Perhaps a song that really helps convey the sense of a complete service is one titled Waiting, showing how patience in faith is rewarded, said Farris. If anything, it explains why the Church has Easter in the first place.
“I think it makes Easter more meaningful because you saw what Jesus went through,” said Farris. “You have more of a feeling on what’s involved in the last week, the crucifixion.”
The church is located at 300 N. Ash and can be reached at 405-238-6332.