Learning to Sing
“O sing to the Lord a new song…”
Psalm 98:1a
With tomorrow being Ascension Day, the Easter season is winding down, on this the thirty-ninth day after Easter. While the Church calendar extends Easter another ten days after the Feast of the Ascension until the Day of Pentecost, it is a liminal time, an in-between time in the Church’s calendar. This likely reflects the feeling of the disciples in that period of uncertainty after they see their resurrected rabbi disappear in the clouds and then await the promised coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Have you squeezed every drop of Easter from these 39 days? For we face a lot of transitions this year. It is an election year, after all, and change is inevitable, whether or not our particular candidates win their races. More than anything for us at St. Martin’s, after saying farewell this past Sunday to Russ and Laura Levenson, who have served alongside us for almost seventeen years, we are all called into greater service and prayer during this time of transition and in preparation for the calling of a new Rector. We, too, are living in a liminal time.
Many Easters ago, I came across a quote from the late pope, John Paul II, which spoke to me and where I was in that particular Easter season of transition and change. At a stop in a visit to Australia, the Pope said, “We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. ‘We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!’”[1]
We are Easter People and Alleluia is our song. I guess, because we believe in the resurrection of the dead, we can claim that we are “Easter People,” but is “Alleluia” really our song … and do we sing it throughout the year?
We sing “Alleluia” when we choose to love those who do not show love to us. We sing “Alleluia” when those around us dwell on the darkness of differences and division while we seek to shine God’s light. We sing “Alleluia” when we cannot see God at work in our lives, but trust in God’s loving care despite our limited sight. We sing “Alleluia” when we choose hope in the face of cynicism, negativity and despair. We sing “Alleluia” when we are peacemakers in the face of war, destruction and cruelty.
Is it time for you to sing a “new song” of which our psalmist wrote so long ago? If so, let it not be just in Easter, but throughout the year. For we are Easter People … Alleluia is always our song.

[1] Daniel Esparza, “Who really said, ‘we are an Easter people, Alleluia is our song’?” Aleteia, https://aleteia.org/2022/04/20/who-really-said-we-are-an-easter-people-alleluia-is-our-song/. Accessed April 11, 2024.
The Rev. Sharron L. Cox
Associate for Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Ministries
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