Our congregation has a Transfiguration Sunday tradition that was especially meaningful this year. It involves a large trunk placed in front of the altar for all to see. During the time for the children’s message, the kids are each given an Alleluia Page, and tasked with the job of writing or drawing their ideas about this word. They are told that during Lent we’ll not be hearing any alleluias in worship. To save those thoughts, at the end of the service they will place their completed Alleluia sheets into the trunk.
The trunk is closed and the children walk this praise-holding container to a secret hiding place. The process is now complete—little children have both preserved and hidden this one-word expression of spiritual joy. The Alleluias are gone, at least for now.
This year, the Alleluia observance occurred in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The world now heads towards a time of frightening events. Just when we need the Alleluias, they’re gone, and they’re hiding!
But wait! This happened on Transfiguration Sunday, when we remember our call to follow the radiant and powerful Jesus on his road to the cross. His Transfiguration encourages our own. Just like Jesus and the disciples came down off that mountain to continue Jesus’ ministry in earnest, we are called to take up his lifework as our own. The Alleluias can wait while we get down to business: Curbing evil, fighting against injustice, calling out authoritarians. In some cases, perhaps sacrificing our lives for the sake of others.
That parade of small children brought this home to me: There is work to be done—on their behalf and because of our vocations to serve God’s holy will. We will begin that work today!
The Alleluias will return soon enough….