Packing Away the Alleluia

February 26, 2012
1st Sunday in Lent
lectionary focus: Genesis 9: 8-17; Mark 1: 12-13
props: the word Alleluia written on a piece of paper; a box to Pack away the Alleluia; packing tape

Good morning.

I have a friend named Jayne. When she was your age, she had never seen a rainbow. Jayne had seen photographs of them, and she had drawn them, and she had heard the story of Noah and the flood and God creating the rainbow. But even though she checked every time it rained, she had not seen one. In fact, Jayne did not see her first rainbow until she was in college! When she did see it…wow! She was amazed! She said that it was so much more than she had imagined; she could hardly breathe; it made her cry with joy. Jayne thought it was worth all of that watching and wishing and waiting…because rainbows are glorious.

We are now in the season of Lent. Just as Advent is the time we prepare for Christmas, Lent is the time we prepare for Easter and Christ being with us always. During this season we try to make things simple. We strip away the distractions of life so that we can concentrate on God. To keep our focus, we do our routines differently. Some people will give up eating a favorite food so that instead of eating it, they stop and think about God. Some people take on a new activity setting aside time each day to do it and think about God. Here at church we sing different hymns and we change our prayers. One big change we make, is to NOT say the word Alleluia. We call this ‘Packing away the Alleluia.’ This word, which we now cannot say, is an exclamation meaning God be Praised. By removing this word and not letting ourselves say it, we build the anticipation so that when we CAN say the word on Easter Sunday…the joy is fresh and honest and glorious.

So today, I have this special word written on a piece of paper.  And now we will place it inside this special box. We’re going to tape it up well so that the word cannot escape…and then on Easter Sunday, we will open the box and release the word back into our church celebrations. To remind us each week that we are saving this word, we’ll leave the box right here under the Communion Table.

As we go through these forty days of Lent, let us concentrate on God, watching and waiting and knowing that when Easter arrives, we will be so ready to shout that word as we celebrate the Glory of the Lord.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for rainbows
and all of Your other wonders.
Help us
be focussed on
and prepared for
and confident in
Your Easter Glory.

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.


8 responses to “Packing Away the Alleluia

  1. Pretty good. I liked the idea of having a card saying do not open until April 8. I thought, however, that the introduction about rainbows was a distraction and most kids wouldn’t get the connection.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Another friend told me the same thing. Kids don’t really get metaphor but I try to provide a connection for parents to use later in discussion. I wanted a story of someone waiting for something great that wasn’t waiting for a present or trip…something that wasn’t a “thing.” I chose a rainbow to match Noah’s story in the lectionary, but also because I think most (not all) kids have seen a real rainbow and can relate to that joy. I still struggle with waiting for the joy of Easter since I rejoice in His resurrection every day. The Rainbow story can be omitted, but I feel the need for an illustration. I’d love to hear other story ideas…

  2. Pingback: Alleluia! A Wonder-Full Easter! | on the chancel steps

  3. very nice prayer 🙂

  4. Pingback: Lenten Series 2013 There’s a Prayer for That…Celebrate the Bounty! | on the chancel steps

  5. Pingback: Help Us Figure Out A Lenten Series… | on the chancel steps

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