In many liturgical traditions the word ‘alleluia’ is purposefully left out of all liturgies and songs used during the season of Lent as a way to honor the solemness of the season. Only then to ring out the Good News on Easter proclaiming, “Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!”
To recognize this tradition many churches have the practice of symbolically burying the alleluia at the start of Lent. We’ve never practiced this tradition at our church before but since we’re spending the season of Lent Growing our Faith in God’s Garden, I thought it would be fun to introduce this practice to our congregation.
Usually, the tradition looks like bringing in a large sign or banner with the word alleluia written on it, explaining that we won’t be using the word again in church until Easter, and then symbolically placing it in a box or even inside the baptismal fount. (This usually happens as the children’s time.) On Easter the paper or banner is brought out of its hiding place and displayed or waved around during worship. I’ve even heard of some churches having lots of little alleluia flags to give to people to wave whenever they hear or say the word during Easter worship.
I’ve decided, to go along with our theme of growing and plants, we are literally going to bury some alleluias in dirt! I found this seed paper I will write the word alleluia on and then I’ll have the kids bury it in a see-through container during children’s time. But I’m not going to tell them it’s seed paper! So “miraculously” our alleluias will begin to sprout, roots will grow, and by Easter our written alleluias will have grown into nature’s alleluias: flowers! I’m hoping this will also give us a nice, progressing visual for each week of our Growing Faith Lent Series.
Update: the seed paper instructions state you need to soak it over night, so I did a test. I wrote Alleluia on half a sheet and soaked it over night. It has held together and the word Alleluia is still visible. My plan is to soak several sheets over night and take them to church in a ziploc bag so they stay moist. The instructions also say to tear them up before planting so that’s what I will have the kids do during children’s time. You could also have them bury a dry sheet and then dig it back up after church, soak it, tear it, and re-bury/plant it without them knowing!
I’m excited for our sermon series this year for Lent! We’ll be spending the season Growing our Faith by encouraging the same level of care we give to our gardens to be given to our faith as well. We’ll be using a song from The Porter’s Gate Worship Project called We Abide We Abide in You to compliment this theme. I’ll also be utilizing the Palm Sunday Responsive Reading I shared a few years ago in place of a sermon on Palm Sunday. I will continue to share communion liturgies and other resources that support this series so be sure you’re following the blog and Get Lit Worship Resources on Facebook so you don’t miss a post!
I recently had the rare joy of attending a worship service where my friend and colleague Rev. Rachel Morse introduced us to a beautiful simple song she had us use as a sung response throughout the liturgy. When I found out it was based on a Wendell Berry poem I loved it even more!
As Holy Week nears, I’m planning to share a Maundy Thursday Taize service as well as Good Friday prayer stations! Be sure to click the follow button below to subscribe so you don’t miss any of that resource-y goodness!
And be sure to check out my resources from years past for a Kids’ Easter Vigil script, a Palm Sunday Responsive reading (sermon alternative!), and a fun little Easter Sunrise service!
Jesus calls us saying, ‘If you want to follow me, pick up your cross daily and follow.’ And so we’ve come, leaving our lives behind for this hour.
Jesus welcomes us saying, ‘Let me take your burdens and lighten your load.’ And so we hand over our worries, doubts, and fears to God.
Jesus calls us to leave behind the life we would make for ourselves and receive the life of freedom and joy only God can give. We are here, trying to give up control, ready to receive the loving care of our
Creator who we worship today.
This Wednesday begins the season of Lent! We’ll be starting this holy season of preparation with an evening Ash Wednesday Taize Worship service. Our worship series, Cross Fit Faith, will help us use Lent as a time to get our souls in shape as we answer Christ’s call to ‘pick up our cross daily and follow’ while remembering Jesus also tells us his ‘yoke is easy’ and his ‘burden is light’. To highlight the restful aspect of our faith training, we’ll be sharing Porter’s Gate Worship Project’s, In the Fields of the Lord as our special music the first Sunday of Lent. We’ll also be using the following as our Prayer for Illumination each week through Easter:
Pray: Gracious Guide, lead us now through your Word and our worship. Grow in us a faith we can live each day. Following the way of Christ, our holy trainer in faith, we live and pray. AMEN
I’ll be sharing Calls to Worship for each week of this series as well. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future posts! (Just click the ‘Follow’ button below)