I am writing this on Wednesday afternoon. It is not Easter yet. But I am getting ready. I am getting ready to say “Alleluia!”
During Lent, we intentionally stop saying “Alleluia” in worship. I suppose you can say it is a kind of a fast. “Alleluia” means “Praise the Lord”, after all; there is no bad time to say it. But during Lent, we stop saying that particular word so that when we say it on Easter morning, it carries even more joy and even more meaning than it would normally.
“Alleluia” simply means “Praise the Lord” — but what do we praise him for? On Easter, we praise him for the victory over death accomplished in Jesus. We praise him that even though it seems like the powers of evil defeated Jesus, in reality the opposite is true: Jesus defeated the power of evil.
We walk through Holy Week, we walk through Lent, so that the victory of Easter seems more real to us. On Sunday he rode into Jerusalem, and we shouted “Hosanna! Save us!” On Monday he went to the temple, turning over the tables and driving out the money-changers. On Thursday he washed his disciples feet, he ate and drank with them, and went to the Garden to pray. On Thursday he was arrested.
On Friday he was arrested, tried, convicted, crucified. On Friday we were all shouting “Crucify him!” On Friday he died. On Friday we all ran away, Afraid.
On Sunday he rose. And we say “Alleluia!”