The Shadows of Selfishness

An outline of themes and readings for the Service of Shadows (Tenebrae)

Shadows hunted you –
shadows of those who did not understand you, did not want you,
did not like the way you challenged their laws and way of living.

Shadows loomed before you –
the shadow of the cross, the shadow of the grave,
the vast and creeping stain of the whole world’s sin.

But you did not turn back.
Jesus, lamb of God, Saviour of the world,
you walked the way of self-giving
even though there was no darkness within you;
even though the shadows pressed heavily upon you.

I need some of your light to glow in my life
and burn away the darkness
that dwells in the hidden desires of my dreams
for the disobedience of Adam and Eve is my disobedience;
the envy of Cain is my envy;
the dishonesty of Jacob is my dishonesty;
the lust of David is my lust;
the fearfulness of Elijah is my fear;
the unfaithfulness of Israel is my unfaithfulness.

Show me on this night of shadows, in the deepening darkness,
the shadows within me that I have been in love with for so long.

Candle 1: The shadow of greed
Luke 22:1-6 – Judas agrees to betray Jesus

Candle 2: The shadow of pride
Luke 22:24-27 – The disciples argue over who is the greatest

Candle 3: The shadow of laziness
Luke 22:39-46 – The disciples fall asleep in the garden of Gethsemane

Candle 4: The shadow of betrayal
Luke 22:47-48 – Judas hands Jesus over with a kiss

Candle 5: The shadow of fear
Luke 22:49-53 – The disciples strike out with their swords

Candle 6: The shadow of denial
Luke 22:54-62 – Peter disowns Jesus

Candle 7: The shadow of death
Luke 22:44-49 – The watchers are plunged into the darkness of despair


About Yvonne Ghavalas

A minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, sharer of stories, sandwich enthusiast, seeker, and sometimes fool (archaic), sporadic blogger at

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