“We are an Easter People and ‘Alleluia’ is our song.” So said St Augustine some 1800 years ago; and it is still as true today as it was then. He was writing at a time when Christians were still very much in the minority, when the world was a dangerous place and, for many, life was “brutish and short”. It was against that background that Augustine declared the hope, the promise and the truth that gave Christians their strength and determination to stand against the tide of paganism and violence that beset the world around them.
They were “Easter People” because they believed in Jesus’ resurrection: he had died but, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, had been brought back to a new life which was witnessed by many of his followers at the time. They were an “Easter People” because they had decided to follow that same Jesus and to model their own lives on what he did and taught.
Above all, they were “Easter People” because they had confidence in God despite anything the world might say or do to them. That is what they believed and that is why their song is “Alleluia”.
“Alleluia” means “Praise the Lord”. The word has been used by Christians of all denominations for centuries. It is used most often at Easter and in the Easter season but is a good word whenever we want to praise God and to thank him for his goodness. There are times when we most certainly do not feel like praising God. Life can be tough through illness, loss of income, grief, arguments etc etc. When we praise God we are not saying that “everything is OK”. What we are saying is that, despite anything else that might be going on, God is good all the time.
If it had not been for what God did through Jesus at Easter, there would be no Christianity, and we would not have the hope, the promise or the confidence in God that we do now.
We know that Christ has been raised from death and will never die again – death will no longer rule over him.
(Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 6 verse 9)
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!