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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why do They Do That?: Burying the Alleluia

My daughter has been watching a television show called The Colony.  It follows an experiment during which several people play out what life would be like as survivors in an abandoned city, after a devastating viral outbreak.

In a recently viewed episode, the participants had been eating only canned foods for weeks, affording them only inadequate nutrition.  Things were getting a bit dismal and the diet was quite tedious, and lackluster, at that point.

The participants went on a scouting trip in hopes of finding supplies, and discovered a small orange grove. They jubilantly stripped the trees and went home for a feast.  How lush those oranges were!  These people, who only weeks before the initiation of the experiment, had been living comfortable lives of plenty...would not have thought twice about an orange.  But, their time of scarcity gave them a new-found deep appreciation for the magnanimous gift of an orange.  Such joy!

The alleluia is like those oranges.  We are inundated with it in Judeo-Christian worship.  It has been with us for centuries.  It is the quintessential praise word.  Across time and cultures, Christians have sung it.  In the West, it has come to be particularly associated with Easter.  It is the primary praise word associated with the greatest wonder that  mankind has received: the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ....

..."Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!"

But do we think twice about it? Do we sing it with flourish? Do we give it, and him by it, the grandeur that is deserved?

So...that's why we bury the alleluia.  During the entire season of Lent, Alleluia is not said or sung in Western liturgical churches, or in the homes of the faithful.  It is hidden away like those oranges, in wait for its resurrection during the Easter vigil, where it is sung with a glorious flourish, at the announcement of the resurrection.

A multi-week fast from the alleluia makes you long for it....and makes singing it with a swell of exultation, at the resurrection of our precious Lord, all the more sweet, at the first light of Easter.


So, at sundown (PST), on Mardi Gras/ Shrove Tuesday, the Alleluia will disappear from this blog...on the sidebar and in be buried away while we make a Holy Lent.

Here are some ways to bury the Alleluia in homes, especially with little ones, making it a meaningful family tradition:

There is an alleluia coloring page here.
*  Three Sided Wheel
*  Just Another Day in Paradise
*  By Sun and Candlelight
*  Catholic Icing
*  The Anglo-Catholic

Pax Christi

Wondering about Ash Wednesday?  Look here.

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  1. Love it! Just so you know, I typically read your posts and then yell "GUESS WHAT?!" to my husband and proceed to tell him what I just read lol

  2. Thanks for linking my post! Hope you have a wonderful and prayerful Lent!


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