Thursday, April 8, 2010

Singing our alleluias

In responding to the question, “What interests you most about the spiritual life?” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says, “I find myself coming back again and again to the meaning of ‘alleluia’.” (“The Christian Century,” April 6, 2010)

The Latin, “Alleluia,” via Greek, derives from the Hebrew, “Hallelujah,” which means, “Praise Ye Yahweh” or “Praise God.”

After the penitential season of Lent, we again use alleluia in our liturgy, starting with the Great Alleluia at the Easter Vigil; we then use alleluia all year long in worship until Ash Wednesday and the start of another Lenten season.

Alleluia. Praise God.

We praise God because of who God is: the God of infinite and unconditional love; what God has done: created and saved us from evil, sin, and death in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ; and for what God promises us: to be with us always through Christ in this world and in the world to come.

This Easter Season, then, let us shout out our alleluias, for that simple but soaring word, as the Archbishop of Canterbury hints in his response to the question, sums up the Good News of God's unfailing love of all his children.

Alleluia. Christ is risen. And with him, we are risen. We are his alleluia people.

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