by Donald Meineke
Each year, in preparation for the great feast of Easter, the church marks our baptismal journey from death to life in the 40 days of Lent through repentance, fasting, prayer, reflection, and alms giving. We journey with Christ from the desert of temptation to the wood of the cross.
This Sunday, we bid a temporary farewell to our beloved ‘Alleluia’ as we sing it over and over one last time in our closing hymn “Alleluia, Song of Gladness” until the Great Vigil of Easter, when the three-fold 'Alleluia' bursts forth heralding the resurrection of Christ. The ancient rite of Burying the Alleluia invites us into the mystery of God, to focus on our baptismal promises, and to ponder anew the saving acts of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Take a moment to read this article by Sharon Ely Pearson on the history and origins of Burying the Alleluia.
As we transition from the season of Epiphany (enlightenment/revelation) to the season of Lent (springtime/renewal) how does the practice of abstaining from a word that encapsulates such praise and joy relate to our ordinary lives?
We live in a society that thrives on having all the answers, instant gratification, hearing whatever truth we want to be true, and, currently, world leaders who hunger for power at any cost. To figuratively “bury the alleluia” from our lives for 40 days means we are faced to confront the relationship with ourselves, each other, the world, creation, justice and injustice, and so much more. As the third stanza of our closing hymn says: