On this most solemn of all Christian holy days the worship area is in semi-darkness. On the alter or table burn eight candles. As the service progresses readers share scripture from the Passion story according to Saint Mark, impart brief meditations on each scripture portion, and then extinguish still another of the eight candles. At last only a single candle burns as the congregation departs in silence.
Themes in this impressive service include:
- One Ran Away
- False Witness
- A Crowd Stirred Up
- Struck... Mocked... Crucified
- Darkness Over the Land
- Lingering Light
Clergy may lead the service, or as many as eight lay readers may be included (sixteen if the scripture and the meditations are divided).
Stephen V. Doughty is an ordained Presbyterian minister, serving the Northwest Area of the Kiskiminetas Presbytery. He lives in Clarion, Pennsylvania.