My favorite part of Easter each year is the phone call I make to my grandma on the way to church. I call my grandmother Easter morning and she always answers the phone with a song instead of saying hello. The thing that makes this especially comical is because she does not care who is calling: regardless of who you are, you can expect a serenade of an old Salvation Army hymn if you call my grandmother on Easter morning.
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
It isn’t really Easter until Grandma sings me that song. I love the gusto she puts into the performance. I love that the word “Hallelujah!” in the last line really sounds like a joy-filled expression. Hallelujah is supposed to be an exclamation of praise and joy and gratitude and celebration. Hallelujah is a word to be shouted from the rooftops. But oftentimes, when we use it in church, it sounds like we are reading a word that doesn’t belong to us out of a book. We need to take ownership over our Hallelujahs.
Hallelujah, when encountered in worship or scripture, is always written with an exclamation point. So why is it that that we say it like it is some ordinary word? We’ve just given up our hallelujahs for 40 days – let’s use this season of Eastertide to reclaim the exuberance of our faith! Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose to new life again. If that doesn’t warrant a hallelujah (!) than I don’t know what does! We are members of an amazing community of love and fellowship. The Parish of the Epiphany is an amazing family full of talent and fun, worship and learning, friendships and mission. We are blessed to call this vibrant church our parish home; let’s shout it from the rooftops!
In Lent we take on a discipline to remind us of Christ’s trials in the wilderness and to turn our focus back to God. How about we do the same in Eastertide – but instead of an inward journey, how about we take an outward one? There is a trend on social media right now from the folks at 100happydays.com. The goal is for folks to post pictures each day of the things that make them happy to see if they can find joy 100 days in a row. I have a similar goal I hope many of us can try: 50 days of Hallelujah! Let’s see if we can find a reason everyday of Eastertide to shout HALLELUJAH! Look for the Risen Christ in your everyday life. See where the Spirit leads you are look for Christ in your midst. Shout your hallelujahs, post them to facebook, email them to me, write them in a letter, etc… On Pentecost, I will post a bulletin board near Hadley Hall with the results of our 50 Days of Hallelujah experiment. Let’s see where Jesus is waiting to meet us on the road.
Hallelujah! Christ is risen!