The season of Lent is almost over, Palm Sunday gives way to the events of Holy Week. Easter arises before us. We’ll not be gathering for the build up of this most significant day in our calendar to sing our Alleluias and be so encouraged and assured of our faith and the promise of the resurrection. We will nevertheless, as we hold onto our palm crosses delivered to your homes sing Alleluia at home.
If you look further around us Alleluias are everywhere!
We know what Alleluias sound like in the church that raise the roof on Easter Sunday. It’ been much more difficult to keep the Alleluias going throughout this past year, because as we all know life has been difficult for everybody. Where did we get the idea that it was supposed to be easy? Certainly not from the church nor indeed the bible. Even in the joyous celebration of Easter we find we still live in a Good Friday world closed in the tombs of despair.
I believe we all have something within us that yearns for joy and lightness, a spirit that yearns to soar with Easter Alleluias rather than entombed with the pain and sorrow of defeat and loss in life. It’s called resurrection. To rise every morning and find the joy and hope of Easter, we must go through the cemeteries of our defeats and disappointments.
And Mary stood weeping at the tomb. And then… ‘Mary,’ Jesus says. He returns in the midst of tears. ‘Mary,’ he says.
We sing our purest alleluias in the grave, in the ruins, in our pain, from the place of our most honest questions. It’s not a matter of more faith or better faith. Please don’t wait for perfect faith to sing an alleluia. Just sing one wherever you are with whatever you’ve got. Anybody can sing when the sun shines brightly When we refuse to stop singing no matter how bad it gets, when we sing out the song of life through tears, that’s when and precisely how, the world knows that Easter is true.
For this Easter time lets no wallow in the self-pity we’ve perhaps endured this past year. Instead in the face of all the things there are to complain about - Alleluia.
In the face of all the things there are to be angry about - Alleluia.
In the face of all the things that frighten us and make us pull back into our shells - Alleluia.
In the face of all the things that break our hearts -Alleluia.
In good times and bad - Alleluia.
With the first cup of coffee in the morning, waking up to the day God has made -Alleluia.
With our last prayer as we’re settling down to sleep—another hard day, yet studded with grace and blessing - Alleluia.
When someone you love is dying, and you feel sad and frightened, and yet there’s tenderness there, too, even holiness - Alleluia!
When your newest grandchild comes into the world, and so much joy breaks forth and you can’t help but worry what kind of world you are giving her - Alleluia.
When you turn another year older and you don’t want to think about what year it is - Alleluia.
When you fail others, when you look inside and see how much work Christ’s resurrection still has to do in you - Alleluia.
When you read the paper or listen to the news and grieve, when you become angry, impatient and frustrated, or you just yearn with all your heart for the kingdom of God to come, to finally come, Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.
We are Easter people. People who know that life has triumphed over death but that somehow the battle still slogs on. People with one foot in joy and the other in longing. People of the already and the not yet. Alleluia is our song. A song sung with lives that try to be loving and just. A song lived out against the odds. With or without descants and trumpets, in major and in minor keys, in harmony, in community, alongside some who belt it out and others who can barely whisper, we laugh it into the world, we weep it into the world, we do whatever it takes to sing, ‘Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia…’
Happy Easter to you, God Bless you