This week marked Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I saw a post on social media about the tradition that some have during this period of the year where they put away, or “bury”, their “Alleluias” – they do not use this term to praise the Lord throughout the season of Lent, as a sign of penitence.
I think this is a wrong and misguided tradition. Let me tell you why.
Sometimes, little words make a big difference. For example, the church marks the Sundays in Lent, not the Sundays of Lent. What’s the difference? Well, Lent is marked for forty days, that being a biblically significant number (think flood, exodus, temptation, etc.). But if you count the number of days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Day, you will find more than forty. Why?
Because the Sundays aren’t included. Every Sunday, no matter the season, is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. So yes, you might hide your Alleluias from Monday to Saturday, but on Sunday, you are enjoined to haul them back out, because even though we trace the route to the cross in Lent, each Sunday remains a celebration of the resurrection, a “little Easter”.
Whatever you may choose to do to mark the season of Lent, set it aside as you enter public worship, because every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection. It is a break from the fast. It is a relief from the penitence.
And we can count it all joy.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150, NLT)