I grew up going to a Lutheran church and a Lutheran school (one of each branch of "Lutheranism"). Our service on Sunday involved singing out and reading out of green hymnals. Kids always attended the services and Sunday school was a separate time, sandwiched between the two morning services. We followed the liturgy - a modified version of the texts and prayers spoken or sung in church services for hundreds if not thousands of years.
In high school and college, I fell out of love with liturgy, feeling that it was just ritual and therefore not meaningful, opting instead to attend a very conservative church with electric guitars that did not observe church year seasons like Advent, Lent, Epiphany, Pentecost.
Later in college, I went through a hard semester. And then an even harder one. And during that time, I found my way home to liturgy, this time in an Episcopalian church. While living in Spain, I moonlighted as a Catholic, attending Mass most weeks (consequently, I know a lot of the Mass liturgy in Spanish, but not in English). My church now is not particularly liturgical, though it does observe the seasons of the church year.
I write about this to introduce a liturgical tradition that I love. Most people are familiar with Lent, the 40 days + Sundays leading up to Easter. Many people associate this as a time of fasting. But, did you know that there is also a word that drops from the church liturgy during this season?
During Lent, we bury the Alleluia's and the Hallelujah's. Without these praise words, the liturgy takes a more solemn turn during a more solemn season. (I actually feel a little heretical just typing it during Lent!)
It's for this reason that on Easter and for the seven weeks after that it's celebrated, the liturgy is JAM PACKED with Allelulia's:
|Note the additional Alleluias. Yes, I do own my own Book of Common Prayer and my own hymnal. Don't worry about it.|
My church now does not observe this particular tradition, which makes me sad (more about that in a future post) and also makes me feel a little obstinate when I refuse to sing the songs that have it during Lent. So, on Palm Sunday - better late than never - I decided to literally bury the "Hallelujah":
And because I believe that dirt is a spiritual experience and because I believe that gardening is a theologically relevant thing to do around Easter, I added a surprising (Pintrest-y) twist: I used the leftover seed paper from our wedding invitations to make the letters. They may not sprout, since they are a bit older... but if they do, I will be sure to let you all know.
Additional Holy Week reflections from past years:
From Brian Zahnd: Jesus died for us... Not for God