Alleluia – Asbury University
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April 3, 2023

Henry Zonio ’97
Director, Center for Academic Excellence

“We get to say ‘Alleluia’ again, right?”

It was Easter morning eight years ago, and my youngest son asked that question with excitement and anticipation in his voice.

In the Anglican tradition (as in other sacramental and liturgical churches), we end each service responding to the clergy’s call to live out our faith outside the church walls by saying, “Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

During the season of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday, we cease saying “Alleluia.” Its absence leaves a conspicuous hole in the taken-for-granted liturgy we’ve recited each week for almost the entire year. It’s one way to remind us of how sin separates us from God and our dependence on Jesus to close that gap through his death on the cross.

Another thing that happens with the cessation of saying “Alleluia” is a longing to repeat it as part of regular Sunday celebrations. As each Sunday of Lent passes with the intentional absence of “Alleluia,” anticipation builds toward Easter Sunday.

This longing parallels the longing many of us have for a world that is right. A world devoid of poverty, racism, sexism, violence… A world where God’s peace and justice reign.

On Easter, we a reminded that Jesus’ death and resurrection make such a world possible. Especially on Easter, we celebrate the great mystery of our faith that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again, ushering in that world we long for.

Just as we get to raise our voices and say, “Alleluia” again each Easter Sunday in a euphoric celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, we will one day get to raise our voices when Jesus returns.

In the meantime, we anticipate the coming of God’s Kingdom and a time we can once and for all say, “Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”