Light of the World meditation

Written By:
Chloe Axford
Bible Refs: John 1:1-5, Matt 5:14-16, Gen 1:1-3, Gen 1:31, Rom 1:20-21, Rom 1:29-31, Psalm 51:3-4, Mrk 15:33-34, Isa 9:2-7
Lectionary Weeks: Christmas - Proper 1 (Year C)

This Christmas meditation using candles, music and readings is based on the traditional tenebrae service, usually held during Holy Week at Easter.

It is designed to be used during a church service or in a small group setting.

Tenebrae is Latin for "shadows" or "darkness". This service involves a gradual extinguishing of candles to signify the darkness in our world. The candles are then gradually re-lit to symbolise Christ’s birth as the light of the world.

The congregation/group is invited to listen to a series of readings and music tracks, following prompts for silent reflection as the service progresses. At the end they are invited to come and light candles as a sign of their commitment to be light in the world.

The emphasis is on creating space for meditation and once the order of service has been explained talking should be kept to a minimum (you may choose to indicate each stage of the service via power point or give out a printed order of service as people arrive).

Ideally any lights in the venue should be turned off so once the final candle is extinguished it is in total darkness.

The music tracks are suggestions and you may want to replace them with worship songs/carols or other tracks you think would work well.

Chloe Axford lives in Devon with her husband Nick and kids. They are volunteer worship leaders at their church and run an alternative worship stream in the evening service called Creative Space. Chloe spent two years working in creative arts ministry at a church in London and now works as a journalist (when not dreaming up imaginative uses for tea lights, post-it notes and stones).

Comments / Responses

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Previous Comments:

Angela Bryan
01 Dec 2010 14:59
Great - thanks so much Chloe! I used this for our evening worship last Sunday, with a few adaptations, and the 25 people who came, including 2 children, seemed to really engage with it.

In case anyone's interested, I used the Auschwitz-Birkenau music as the third track, and In the Dark by Tracy Chapman as the second. Then instead of The Angel Gabriel, for the return of the main candle, I used Only Light by Note for a Child. I topped it with Keiran's We Look Forward opening liturgy, and finished with an opportunity for people to share their reflections and insights with each other. I used the Advent fractal images as people entered and left.

Thanks! Angela
16 Dec 2010 13:50
I used this with our home group yesterday and it seemed to go very well. I did substitute a different first track, but I'm not sure the substitute was much better.

Thanks for making this available!

Maybe add a torch to the "You will need" list as it's hard to read the words in the dark. ;-)
Glyn Normington
16 Dec 2010 13:52
I forgot to log in before adding the previous comment, so trying again so you know who I am.
Sam Hargreaves
16 Dec 2010 13:59
Thanks Glyn!
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