Thursday, April 05, 2012

Seven Sites, Seven Words: indigenous Tennebrae Easter service

We had the privilege yesterday evening of being part of Seven Sites, Seven Words, an indigenous Tenebrae Easter Service.

The service was located at Pilgrim Uniting and involved a journey outside, around the central city. Scripture passages that tell of events leading to the death of Christ were laid alongside readings of parallel stories of white engagement with Australia’s Aboriginal people, of betrayal, denial and death. Symbolic gestures Рthe coins of betrayal, the whip, moments of white denial Рfound fresh meaning.

The service has been developed by Geoff Boyce, adapting from Norm Habel’s ‘Healing Rites at Seven Sites.’ It was a wonderful reframing of the tradition of Tenebrae (Latin for ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness’), capturing the darkness of the events leading to Easter Friday and the pain of colonisation.

The sites were skillfully chosen, ensuring that Easter is not hidden in a church, but public for bystanders to see – as it was in the original. Theologically, the process of identifying Christ with indigenous suffering is an appropriately disturbing, destabilising act. The movement and the invitation to participation added to the personal engagement.

Seven Sites, Seven Words is an event that needs to be experienced by all Anglo-Australians.

Posted by steve at 08:39 AM

1 Comment

  1. I miss this service, we held it in Blackwood for a number of years before I moved to the ACT

    Still one of the most powerful Easter liturgies I’ve participated in.

    Comment by Darren — April 11, 2012 @ 10:00 am

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