Catholics and Protestants came together at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral on Good Friday to celebrate the unity they share in the life and resurrection of Jesus.
It was the second year the cathedral hosted an ecumenical Tenebrae service. The Rev. Jeff Lewis explained the service is one of the ways Bishop Blase Cupich’s is working to bring Spokane’s faith community together.
Five local Christian leaders, including Cupich, participated in leading the service. Bishop James E. Waggoner, Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, Bishop Martin Wells, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastern Washington – Idaho, the Rev. Dale Cockrum, the inland district superintendent of the Pacific Northwest Conference United Methodist Church, Rev. Darrin Connal, rector of the Cathedral, and Cupich all shared in readings. Rev. Sheryl Kinder Pyle, transitional executive presbyter of the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest delivered the sermon.
“Jesus wants us to cry out boldly in the night,” Kinder Pyle said. “He wants us to speak out loud, audacious, bold prayers.”
She reminded the approximate 200 people in the congregation that Jesus knows what it means to “be fully human,” and therefore understands the challenges and triumphs that people face each day.
“Jesus offered his own blood to cleanse us from within. Jesus cleanses all aspects of our lives. He removes the sin from our very core,” she said. “We’ve heard this for years, but perhaps it’s been a long time since we’ve really heard this. We should be overwhelmed.”
The Cathedral became a little darker after she concluded her sermon. A Tenebrae service is characterized by the successive extinguishing of six candles, one-by-one. At the end of the service only one candle remains lit, signifying the resurrection.
Lewis said this year’s service drew in about 50 more people than last year.
Waggoner participated in last year’s service and said he was pleased to take part again.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us to worship in the spirit of unity,” he said. “I think it’s really an invitation to that.”
Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.