Ok, so apparently because of my United Methodist upbringing I was ignorant about something regarding the season of Lent, not that I claimed to be an expert. It could be I was just not paying attention as a kid because I was doodling on my bulletin. Today at the end of our worship time I lead the congregation in an a cappella chorus of “Hallelujiah”. Afterword I found out that some traditions don’t say Hallelujah during lent. Apparently there’s this thing called “burying the alleluia” (and other variations). And some of you are saying – yeah, I knew that. This is something new to me. I did a little research.
Here’s an explanation from the Evanagelical Lurtheran Church (see full article here):
Because of the penitential character of the season of Lent, singing or saying the word “alleluia” has historically been suspended during Lent’s forty days. This period of individual and congregational reflection on the quality of our baptismal faith and life suggests that the joyful nature of alleluia is more appropriately reserved for our Easter celebrations when it is given full and jubilant voice. An alternate gospel acclamation for Lent that omits the alleluia is provided for all settings of Holy Communion in Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
The omission of alleluia during Lent goes back at least to the fifth century in the western church. The custom of actually bidding it farewell, however, developed in the Middle Ages. The hymn “Alleluia, song of gladness” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship #318) contains a translation of an 11th century Latin text that compares an alleluia-less Lent to the exile of the Israelites in Babylon. The text then anticipates the joy of Easter when glad alleluias will return in all their heavenly splendor.
Along with a sung farewell to alleluia, some congregations have embraced the practice of physically “burying” the alleluia. This may take the form of actually placing a visual representation of alleluia in a hole in the ground, or of hiding it away after carrying it in procession around the church or worship space. This ritual practice is especially delightful and meaningful for children.
Whew. I think we’re in the clear. Because we sang Hallelujah – with an “H”. 🙂
(That’s a joke).