Monday, April 23, 2012

Lent Followup

In the interest of full disclosure, I figured I should probably update how Lent finished (besides Easter, which was lovely.)

Halfway through Lent, the medical issue over meat disappeared, so I started eating meat again.  Figured the medical issue was enough to deal with. 

The prayer beads didn't stick either, though I still look at them fondly and it's still the most real praying I've done in years.  (Told you my ADD was bad.)  I think perhaps the bigggest barrier to continuing is finding more prayers to go with the beads than what I can find for free online, and I'm apparently too cheap to just buy a book of them.  Though I haven't checked the library yet...

I didn't mention one of the traditions regarding Lent is that the word "Alleluia" is not spoken during the liturgy.  "Alleluia" means "Praise God"; not that we're not praising God during Lent, but it's an indicator that  Lent is a more solemn time, a less boisterous time. 

I hadn't realized how much of the parts of the liturgy that I love contained alleluias, and missing alleluias also became a part of my Lenten fast this year.

For example: just before the bread and wine is served at Communion, we sing the following song:

The tune is beautiful and simple. When we first started attending and  I learned it, I would find myself humming it through the week and deriving a great deal of comfort from the song.  For me it's still a highlight of the service - especially because as soon as it finishes, we are told that the bread and wine are "the gifts of God for the people of God". And we all know how much I love Communion.

Outside of the Lenten season, the deacon also closes the service saying, "Alleluia, go in peace to love and serve the Lord!" - to which the congregation replies, "Thanks be to God; alleluia, alleluia!"  During Lent, basically the same exchange occurs, except the "alleluia" is omitted.

So joyful and soul-nourishing, these alleluias.  I missed them.

But on Easter, alleluias abounded, and there are more alleluias in the Easter season liturgy than even before Lent.  As proclaimed on Easter, "We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song."  The Resurrection is our joy.  Alleluia!

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