Tenebrae

Atheists/non-Christians- hang in here with me. I’m dabbling in some Christian imagery, but I’m not trying to convert you or anything.

A Catholic observance in Holy Week, from Latin for “shadows”, the Tenebrae feature dramatically, ceremonially extinguished candles, culminating in Good Friday. This represents doubt, fear, and the death of hope. It is a willful and contemplative revisiting of the torture and execution of Jesus.

It’s a heavy time. We’re heavy-laden with the burdens of the world, the unending churn and toil of being alive, not being evil, and surrounded by constant terror and tragedy. Humans do such ugly things to each other and the Earth.

This reflection of death can be inspiring- we have one life to live. Life is finite. Let’s not waste it being awful. Let’s build each other up, advocate for our communities, rally against injustice and ignorance.

Those are nice ideas, right? They’re kind of ethereal and airy-fairy, though. Let’s extrapolate some actionable steps.

  1. Share food with someone: this could be having a friend over for dinner, baking bread for a neighbor, or giving a coworker something from your garden (when in season)
  2. Find out who your local representatives are, and call/write/email to introduce yourself. Pay attention to local happenings, and don’t be afraid to ask your reps where they stand on issues, or how you can help them to better your neighborhood.
  3. Volunteer: There’s a senior center, Boys and Girls club, or VA hospital around you that needs your help and enthusiasm.
  4. Make/build something: paint, carve, collage, weld, write. Do something creative. Show it to people. Maybe they’ll think its cool and want to make something, too.
  5. Tell me what I can do.
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