One thing that continues to strike me is the way that deep truths both have a certain beauty to them and provoke a beautiful response. The latter has certainly been the case with the Christian tradition and the multiple forms of artistic beauty that it inspires.
To that point, the other day I read this post listing ten classical music pieces for Easter. The author notes that he’s leaving off the most well-known Easter-inspired piece, which leads us down another road…
Many Christian traditions are known for the spiritual practice of giving something up for the six week-plus season of Lent, leading up to the celebration of Easter. Catholics, for instance, give up meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.
Perhaps less well-known is the practice of “giving up” the Alleluia…
As with many Christian worship services, the Catholic Mass always includes a reading from one of the four Gospels. Immediately prior to the reading comes the Gospel acclamation, typically a verse or two from the Bible, which is “bookended” by the singing of the word “Alleluia.” This word is a variation of the Hebrew word Hallelujah, which is an exhortation to give praise to God.
During the seasons of Advent and Lent, however, Catholics “give up” the Alleluia, not singing it from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday. It is only at the Easter Vigil after sundown on Holy Saturday that this word is sung again.
Now that Lent is over and Easter has begun, this word — both an exhortation to give praise to God and itself a means of giving that praise — returns full force.
As such, it only seems appropriate to listen to what is probably the most well-known composition around this biblical word of praise: the “Hallelujah Chorus” from George Handel’s 1741 work The Messiah.
So… turn the volume up to 11, click the Play icon below and listen to the Royal Choral Society’s stirring performance of this classic: