Dear People of Ascension,
Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
We are back in the season of Alleluias. We refrain during Lent from our Alleluias as a way of observing the sacred and suffering journey of Christ to the cross. With the cross, that is death, defeated on Easter morning, our songs of Alleluia return.
At least in church, that is. How do we walk around singing Alleluia to a world that continues to suffer day to day, year in and year out. To the friend who just received a terminal diagnosis, how do we sing Alleluia in their face? To the family who lost loved ones in the latest bombing, a song of Alleluia rings hollow, doesn't it?
For those who were able to join us Easter Morning in our little church, you heard me speak about the resurrected life that is to be found all around us. It's not just some old story from 2000 years ago that really makes little sense today. It can be found in real ways that inspire us - in the return of spring flowers through the cold dark earth, in the kindness of a stranger who extends unusual care for us, in the phone call from a friend that happens to come just at the right time and strengthens our weary heart.
Alleluias that are sung out of joy and bliss aren't so hard. And when we can sing in that way, we should. In this extended season of Easter, which takes us through to Sunday June 9th when we celebrate Pentecost, the challenge is to sing our Alleluias despite the pain, devastation and death that surrounds us. And not only for ourselves, quietly on Sunday morning in our church, but throughout our week as we encounter others who are longing for new life in the midst of their own suffering.
I'm not suggesting you wander down Queen Street on Monday mornings singing the Alleluia chorus at the top of your lungs. Yet I am encouraging you to say your Alleluia's out loud, however quietly you may need to do that so that people don't give you strange looks.
When we say or sing our Alleluias in this world, we are subverting the story that all is lost, that death in the end wins. We are subverting the message that there is no hope and we should all walk around in fear of the next bombing or cancer diagnosis.
Our Alleluias - loud or quiet, sung or whispered, remind us, and this world, that not only did Jesus resurrect and become alive again, but resurrection is happening all around us all the time. We need to be constantly reminded of this reality, because the darkness of this world is always trying to convince us otherwise.
Let me end with a poem and invite you to fill your Easter Season with your own Alleluias.
Alleluia by John O'Connell
the visions and insights
each passing minute -
whirlwinds of growing wisdom
with the receiving of perpetual
graces and eternal values.
all difficulties demise
and disappear into oblivion
where the horrors of non-being
With Prayers for Peace for You and this World,
The Reverend Ruthanne Ward
Priest in Charge, Church of the Ascension, Port Perry