Burying the Allelulia

As of yesterday, February 14, 2018, ASH WEDNESDAY, we bury the word ALLELULIA, here at St. Timothy, and don’t say it again until Easter. We do not use it at church. We do not use it at home. We let it rest, as it were, during Lent, so that when it reappears on Easter, we may hear it anew. In fact, once it returns on Easter, we give it no rest at all, repeating it again and again, in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.The omission of alleluia during Lent goes back at least to the fifth century in the western church. The custom of actually bidding it farewell, however, developed in the Middle Ages. Based on the Hebrew word, hallelu yah, meaning “Praise the Lord,” alleluia has been a word of great praise to God in the life of the church and was prominent in early Christian liturgies. Because of the penitential character of the season of  Lent in the Western church, singing or saying the word “alleluia” has historically been suspended during Lent’s forty days. This period of individual and congregational reflection on the quality of our baptismal faith and life suggests that the joyful nature of alleluia is more appropriately reserved for our Easter celebrations when it is given full and jubilant voice.

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