when i received the first moderna covid vaccine, it felt like i hit the lottery. since i was on a substitute list in the event that someone did not show up for their appointment, i had to be at the auburn site within the hour after the phone call. in my heart, i sang alleluia. we all had been living under the cloud of covid for over a year now. having the vaccine feels like a cloak of amour in the fight. in turn, i have a lot less anxiety since now my 97 year old mother and i have had both vaccines. a double alleluia!!
alleluia in hebrew means “praise the Lord” and it is a response to the good that we experience. alleluia recognizes God as the source of the good we see. it can be quite spontaneous and surprising– just like grace. to sing alleluia is to strengthen the bond of love between us and our God. alleluia can be seen as an emotional response of thanksgiving.
we can also prepare our hearts for singing alleluia. the whole season of lent can function as such. liturgically, we refrain from singing alleluia during these penitential 40 days. during lent, we realize how the effects of suffering and death are working in our lives and the world– especially on good friday. the better our lenten reflections are, the more heartfelt our alleluia song can be on easter sunday. when we truly know how weak and sinful we are, alleluia is our response to God’s loving mercy and unconditional love for us. singing alleluia follows the grace we see in our lives.
easter resurrection is a pure gift of love and we sing special alleluias because jesus is truly risen. and lives among us!
there are many different styles of worship. depending on our temperament, we can gravitate or avoid certain ways of praying. some people are uncomfortable with extreme outwardly emotional styles of worship such as practiced by our pentecostal/charismatic sisters and brothers. some folks like silence and quiet like our contemplative friends. singing alleluia is more about the heart than the outward expression. the praise of God comes in all sorts of ways according to the Spirit.
but there is an undeniable burst of energy when we sing or shout the word “alleluia.” heart energy bursts forth and touches and affects those around us. expressions of thanksgiving are meant to be shared.
sometimes, singing alleluia can be subtle.
since my mother’s stroke, she is very limited in her ability to express herself in words. but i can recognize the sentiment in her facial expression. her “alleluias” come from when she sees beauty. notably, when the flocks of birds fly by her window before dusk, her eyes and face shine and her face. it is as if friends are dropping my to say hello.
it is the same when she sees a bouquet of flowers. her whole face lights up. and since she easily forgets, she can see the same bouquet a little later and have those alleluia eyes as if for the first time.
what makes you sing alleluia?
st augustine said it well:
amen, alleluia. a graced easter day and season to you all!