Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, April 08, 2013

"Yipee!!! - Rector's Rambling - March 31, 2013

I remember as a young child hearing my parish priest proclaim “Yippee!!!”, followed by an equally enthusiastic “Hurray!!!” during a sermon on a Sunday morning.  I was an acolyte that morning, and was able to see the surprise on the faces of the congregation as he made this proclamation.  How out of place it seemed.
After a pause, Fr. Johnson let us know, that what he was doing was expressing his enthusiasm as the people of Israel would have done, and the early church as well.  Of course, what he was doing was translating for us the word “ALLELUIA”.
This morning we start the liturgy with what is known as the Proclamation of the Resurrection.  From the earliest times the Church would begin her Easter celebration with the phrase “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” to which the congregation would respond, “The Lord (He) is Risen indeed, Alleluia”.  It is the foundation of our faith, belief that in fact Jesus Christ has conquered death and though dead is now alive.
“Yippee” and “Hurray” may sound a bit foolish to us, but they sum up nicely, I think, the enthusiasm of the first disciples, once the news had time to sink in, that Jesus Christ is Risen.  And placing it at the beginning of the Easter Liturgy is a wonderful way to kick-off our celebration.
And it isn’t just a one day proclamation.  Over the next 40 days we are in “Eastertide”, a full season of celebration.  And like the early Christians we can greet each other with a hearty, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” to which we then respond, “He is Risen indeed!  Alleluia”.
Death is conquered, the price of sin is paid for, and we have new life in Jesus Christ.
Yippee!  Hurray!  Alleluia!