By: Pastor Karen Brau
Readings: Psalm 53; Leviticus 23:26-41; Revelation 19:1-8
Looking at Revelation 19, this is a wild passage — with images that are at first hearing are way out. The writer is very excited that Salvation, Glory and Power belong to God! In fact, they are so jubilant they offer the word Alleluia 4 times.
Didn’t they know we don’t use Alleluias in Lent? The “A,” word is one we put away for 40 days — as we journey with Jesus towards his passion. We put the “A,” word away, because it doesn’t reflect the seriousness of each step on the road to the cross.
Maybe Lent isn’t the only issue. If you consider the word Alleluia in the New Testament, where the focus is on the story of Jesus and the beginnings of Christian community, the “A,” word does not occur at all — until you reach this 19th Chapter of Revelation.
Alleluia is used in Old Testament the Hebrew Scriptures. In the psalms — 15 of them end with Alleluia, or Praise the Lord.
The only time Alleluia is used in the New Testament is in this Revelation passage — and again, it is used 4 times! Perhaps it takes this mysterious dreamlike revelation to bring to voice the true gift — that salvation, and the glory, and the power are truly all God’s through Jesus Christ. And that new reality calls forth the response: Alleluia!
So know this Lent, the road will be difficult for Jesus. The betrayals of his friends will be real and the death of Jesus will sting. However, God will triumph through the ministry, life and death of Jesus.
And today, in the middle of Lent, Revelation gives us a preview of the days after the crucifixion — an Easter that keeps rising.
Take a day off your Lenten discipline, and say this prayer out loud: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia — Amen.