Several years ago, one of our church members was visiting family when she heard about the tradition of “burying” the hallelujah during lent. I had never heard about this practice, but was intrigued by it…especially with regard to teaching children about the Lenten journey. We don’t say hallelujah during lent as a way to prepare and anticipate for the glorious hallelujahs we shout when rejoicing together on Easter/Resurrection Sunday.
So, we began the practice of “packing away” the hallelujahs at the end of our Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper. I set up tables with sticks (balloon bouquet sticks from the local party supply store), streamers, tape and paper pennants with “hallelujah” printed on them. Children, youth, and even a few adults enjoy making their own creations while listening to live jazz and chomping on a delicious pancake supper.
This year, we invited a friend of my husband to bring some other musician friends and their four piece jazz combo really brought down the house! All ages enjoyed themselves…this is one of the events we do as a church where it REALLY is hard to find someone not smiling and thoroughly enjoying themselves! It’s just a joyful night. My husband said that “having fun” is one of the great secrets of this church family. I definitely agree. We know how to love God, we know how to eat AND we know how to have good ol’ fun!
During the final song of the evening (when the saints go march in’ in), EVERYONE dances around conga-line style and at the end of the song, we place our hallelujah banners, masks, streamers, etc. into a big bucket that I have marked, “Do not open until Easter.”
It’s a great way to take an abstract concept about the nature of the Lenten season and turn it into a concrete experience for children (and adults) to understand and put into practice!