Tre Ore: The Last Seven Words of Christ

An Introduction

The Tre Ore service is one that I discovered several years ago at Saint James Cathedral in Seattle. The three-hour service on Good Friday is a remembrance of the three hours Jesus hung on the cross, from noon until three. This service is primarily Roman Catholic.

The Tre Ore is built around the last seven things Jesus said while on the cross. Each “word” is actually a phrase, and the practice is that the scripture is read in which Jesus utters the phrase, followed by a homily, a choral response, intercessions and prayer. You can see in the picture of the order of service the layout of each word. This is from last year’s Tre Ore at Saint James Cathedral.

The Tre Ore and Tenebrae have become my regular observances of the Easter holiday. I love the vigil and Easter morning services. But somehow being a single person, those services seem ill suited for me. Tre Ore is a liturgical marathon. That’s the point. We are waiting at the foot of the cross while the drama of his death plays out. I feel renewed after Tre Ore.

With the end of all social gatherings, these elements of Easter are gone. I wondered about how to replace them. There’s no way to replace Tre Ore or do it alone at home or online. So I decided I’d write my own meditations on each word.

Each meditation is exactly 300 words long. The whole process of writing them took several hours over a couple of days. I didn’t necessarily have an orienting theme and each word played out for me as I wrote, edited, deleted, rewrote, and researched. It was a valuable and enjoyable process. As I read them again I’ll make edits or changes if needed. Otherwise I’m sharing what emerged.

A Note on Music

First Word

Second Word

Third Word

Fourth Word

Fifth Word

Sixth Word

Seventh Word