At church the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, the Rector told us that this would be the last time we’d be saying the word “Alleluia” in any form as a congregation until Easter. He explained that this was another form of Lenten fasting.
I did a little research, as this custom was unfamiliar to me. I learned many liturgical traditions “buried the alleluia” in some form during Lent.
Jamie Martin-Currie offered a concise explanation of this practice:
The omission of alleluia during Lent goes back at least to the fifth century in the western church. The association of alleluia with Easter led to the custom of intentionally omitting it from the liturgy during the season of Lent, a kind of verbal fast which has the effect of creating a sense of anticipation and even greater joy when the familiar word of praise returns. We do not use it at church. We do not use it at home. We let it rest, as it were, during Lent, so that when it reappears on Easter, we may hear it anew. (http://www.epicenter.org/all-lent/why-do-we-bury-the-alleluia/)
After more than three decades in non-denominational churches, my husband and I enjoyed the richness of liturgical tradition we’d discovered at the Anglican congregation we attended a few years ago. We appreciated the structure of the formal liturgy, the amount of unadorned Scripture proclaimed throughout the service, and the opportunity to participate in communion each week as a centerpiece of worship. My low church history was illuminated by Anglican high church practice.
However, there were some aspects of liturgical worship that made sense to my head, but not my heart. Burying the alleluia was one of them. [Read more]