I made it to Tenebrae at Blackfriars this morning, and as the last of the unbleached candles was snuffed out and as 4 Dominicans lay prostrate before the altar, the stillness and greyness of the moment were nearly unbearable. It really felt like a battle was about to be fought and these were the last moments to draw breath and contemplate one's mortality before the inevitable takes place.
Christ is hidden behind the veil. We put on our armour, we are His soldiers and whatever we go through Our King will go through worse. We know under whose banner we will fight and how paltry our efforts will be. But Our King is alone, supremely vulnerable, silent and passive. The world will do its worst and Our King will die.
And what about us, are we really up to this? Are we really going to do the Triduum or will it be so much theatre for us to attend and shift uncomfortably in our seats,full of half remembered excitement from Holy Weeks from long ago, criticisms of priestly "preformances" that aren't quite up to scratch and anticipated boredom at the length of the services.
This feels like religion for grown ups, people who have felt pain, betrayal, isolation and stared death in the face. But this is almost to miss the point, for it is the Lamb who will be slain and even the most child like amongst can feel the horror in that.
The horror is universal, the greyness and silence unbearable and this is as it should be.