“Tenebrae” is Latin for “shadows” and is an ancient form of service used by various traditions. The progressive extinguishing of candles and use of darkness dramatizes the increasing sadness of Holy Week ahead of the celebration of resurrection at Easter.
“I Am”: A Lenten Journey into the Meaning of Jesus
The season of Lent commemorates the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent being tempted in the wilderness. In the crucible of the desert, he was tested, refined, strengthened and empowered. His divine qualities shone through, and he embraced them to embark on a life mission to show that humans could embody the Divine Life he came to share. This Lent we will explore that Life by contemplating the “I am” sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John. These sayings are full of deep meaning and challenge. In Jesus’ Hebrew tradition “I am” was the unspeakable name for God as revealed to Moses (also in the wilderness). Jesus is claiming much more than being in possession of interesting information about the Divine Life—he embodies that Life, he is that Life.
Over the 6 weeks of Lent, we will take each saying and seek to unpack its often-mysterious meaning by looking at the background context in the Hebrew scriptures, as well as the context of Jesus’ life and ministry. For each saying, we’ll consider how Jesus embodies it, what that means for us, and how we too can take up the challenge to live it out in a practical and grounded way. Through personal reflection and journaling exercises each week, we’ll together go on a Lenten journey where we’ll look honestly at our own lives, reflect on where we might be holding back from God, and renew our commitment to embrace all that Jesus is.
In place of our usual discussion questions, each week we will consider the following reflection and journaling prompts in light of that week’s “I am” statement:
He is… —what does this say about Jesus?
I will be… —what does this say about who we hope to become?
I will… —what can I say or do now to move towards who Jesus is and who I am becoming?