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Alleluia - A word of celebration

by Amanda Watson

Alleluia! Alleluia is a word like no other. It is a word that smiles and makes you smile. It is the sound of joy. It is a celebration in a word. Alleluia is Easter!

Alleluia is one of those words that cannot be read or simply passed over. It is a word that must be said aloud: either in our mind, but especially with our voice. Go ahead, say, “Alleluia.” Notice that the “lu” becomes “LOOO” and the “ia” with a slightly raised pitch to finish with a flourish. Notice that you cannot say “Alleluia” quietly, the word contains too much energy.

Each Sunday, we celebrate the Eucharist with the words:

“Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia."

Except during Lent, Alleluia is omitted.

All the weeks of Lent, we have stayed silent. We have waited, preparing ourselves and this community for the resurrection of our Lord. The next time we will say “Alleluia” is during The Great Vigil of Easter.

The Great Vigil of Easter, one of the most magnificent liturgies in the Book of Common Prayer, begins in a darkened church with only the new fire for light - from which the Pascal Candle and the candles of the congregation are lit. Then the Deacon sings or says the Exsultet which contains the most beautiful line: “How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God.”

THIS IS THE NIGHT! This is the night we hear our story, “the record of God’s saving deeds in history,” culminating with the Renewal of Baptismal Vows. This is the night, with the newly baptized standing at the front of the nave, suddenly the lights go up, bells ring and the great vigil of Lent is over and we celebrate,

“Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.”

At The Great Vigil we become a spirit-filled fellowship. For at baptism, we die with Christ, and therefore we are resurrected with Christ.

"The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia."

We become filled with great zeal and joy and gratitude. The power of the resurrection comes closer to us; Christ really becomes the risen one, and new life comes into being. New life means that something of God and heaven, something Holy, can grow within us. And that’s an alleluia!

"Alleluia, Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.”

Alleluia, Christ is risen. Christ is with us. Alleluia, Christ is with us in good times and bad, in confidence and fear, and all our times in between. Christ is with us in homeless shelters, rehab programs, schools, hospitals, and churches. Christ is with us on the streets, in coffee shops, in our homes, “or at tea”. There is resurrection. We are renewed and find ourselves in a completely different place—we are changed.

Alleluia. What word! A word of praise, thanksgiving, and joy. A word of celebration.

A word of good news. Alleluia! God with us.

Again I say, Alleluia!

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