Liturgical Color: Purple
On this night Christians commemorate the supper Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Five actions traditional on this night are included in the following service. They are; 1) confession and pardon, 2) proclamation of the Word, 3) the Lord’s Supper, 4) stripping of the church, and 5) Tenebrae.
The ancient practice of stripping the Lord’s table and sanctuary following Communion is a vivid and dramatic way of showing the desolation and abandonment of the long night in Gethsemane and what followed. Designated persons pick up the cloths on the Lord’s table and the pulpit and other hangings, banners, candlesticks, and decorations and quietly carry them from the sanctuary. This may be done in silence, or a hymn may be used. The church then remains bare until the Easter Vigil when the process is reversed. The service of Tenebrae, or “darkness,” is based on a 12th century late-night, early morning service and is an extended meditation on the passion of Christ.