Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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April 14, 2014

Good Friday service highlights dark before redemption

Tenebrae a musical and spiritual journey for community — There is no one holiday that serves as a better cornerstone for Christianity than Easter and many services will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ a little over a week from now.

However, just as important are the events leading up to his crucifixion. One annual Good Friday service, combining the choral efforts of First Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church in Pauls Valley, is returning to once again to capture the emotional context of said events.

“We put together beautiful services for each of the holiday seasons,” said First Christian Church member and service leader Reba Jo Ward, noting how they also do a Christmas eve service with the Presbyterians. “A lot of people ask me, what Tenebrae is… I tell them it’s the story of the last three days that Jesus lived. It means darkness or shadows.”

The service, starting at 7:30 p.m. and lasting about an hour, is held at the Christian Church. It will again feature several songs along with a story told in narration and scripture, according to Ward.

To signify the hours before the death of Jesus, there will be seven candles extinguished, including the Christ candle. It ends with a prayer of hope by FCC Pastor Peggy D. Farris.

While the scriptures remain the same, Ward and Presbyterian Choir Director Barbara Hagist choose a different set of songs each year. In this way, it remains a fresh telling that is put together weeks in advance by the two leaders.

“It seems like each year new songs are written for Easter and we seem to find different songs to fit it,” said Ward, who noted how she’s been leading it with Hagist, who plays the piano, since sometime in the 1980s. “Barbara plays with such feeling and puts her whole heart into it.”

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