During our Good Friday service, we always conclude with what is called the Tenebrae hymn: “Were You There.” Tenebrae is a Latin word that means ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness.’ It refers to a distinctive worship service that involves the gradual extinguishing of candles while reading the psalms and gospel narratives that explicitly set forth Jesus’ sufferings and death.
John Stott in his insightful book The Cross of Christ, writes: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, we were there. Not as spectators only but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified…There is blood on our hands. Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance). Only the one who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross may claim his share in its grace. (p.60).