At the meal, Jesus foreshadowed how far his love would take him when he gave the bread and wine for his friends, saying "This is my body, this is my blood given for you." After we share a meal together with Jesus and his disciples--strengthened for our journey with Christ's body and blood--we see the altar stripped as Psalm 22 is read. The stripping of the altar reminds us of how Jesus was stripped, beaten and humiliated by the guards who arrested him.
On Good Friday, our time of worship takes the form of a Tenebrae service. Tenebrae is Latin for "darkness." As the story of Christ's death is read from John's gospel, candles are gradually extinguished, leaving us in darkness as we leave--a reminder of the prologue to John's gospel in which he calls Jesus the Word of God, there at the beginning, through which the light--the life of all people--came into being. It is also a reminder that though "the light has come into the world, ... people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed." (John 3.19-20)
Vigil of Easter
After the stories are read, we will welcome new members into the congregation through transfer and also through baptism. In the early Church, all baptisms were held on the Vigil of Easter as a reminder that it is into Christ's death that we are baptized. As he lies in the tomb, we are drowned to sin, and together we rise with him into resurrected life.
The Vigil of Easter used to last all night. Throughout the night, Christians would keep awake, pray, read stories of God's salvation, and wait for the light of dawn to celebrate the first Eucharist (Holy Communion) of Easter. We won't be up all night (only an hour and half or so), so we will celebrate Easter Eucharist before we leave. That may seem to early, but the liturgical day counts time the Jewish way: Saturday ends and Sunday begins at sunset.