Practicing alleluia

What does “Alleluia” look like?
• Practicing praising God, remembering God’s goodness, before the work of Lent.
• Experiencing the healing of God, through Jesus.
Talk about psalms:
The word “psalm” means song: different kinds: rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz, blues, classical …
Psalms: praise, lament, ascending
Psalm 111, in Hebrew and the words in English, resource:

Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise. It is an alphabet poem. If we could read this psalm in Hebrew, each line would begin with the next letter of the alphabet, like if we said, “a, b, c.”
[Hand out cards to kids, have them read or find someone to read with/for them: 22 letters, 22 lines in the psalm.]

Say line 1 together!

I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart,
in the meeting–place of honest people, in the assembly.
2Great are the deeds of Yahweh,
to be pondered by all who delight in them.
3Full of splendour and majesty his work,
his saving justice stands firm for ever.
4He gives us a memorial of his great deeds;
Yahweh is mercy and tenderness.
5He gives food to those who fear him,
he keeps his covenant ever in mind.
6His works show his people his power
in giving them the birthright of the nations.
7The works of his hands are fidelity and justice,
all his precepts are trustworthy,
8established for ever and ever,
accomplished in fidelity and honesty.
9Deliverance he sends to his people,
his covenant he imposes for ever;
holy and awesome his name.
10The root of wisdom is fear of Yahweh;
those who attain it are wise.
His praise will continue for ever.

From the New Jerusalem Bible

That is how a person from an ancient time praised God. How might we praise God today? (Show/hand out the “Praise God” papers.) What does “alleluia” look like? One writer said that she would draw snowflakes in the blank spaces, because snowflakes are so beautiful. That’s how she would praise God. How will you? In pictures? Writing? Go ahead and work on you own version of praising God, now or during the week. Then, bring them in and tack them to the bulletin board. We will say “Alleluia” as many times as we can before Lent arrives. (Okay?)

Why would we do this? When we are going through a difficult time, it is very helpful – maybe life-saving – to know how much God loves us. One way we acknowledge God’s love for us – to celebrate God – is to praise God. So we practice the praise, that we might remember God when life seems really hard.
When does life seem hard?
Before a test, the first day of school, before a swim meet, soccer match, when a friend is sick, when you feel lonely or scared?
Remember God.

We heard more than “alleluia” today. We heard something about Jesus in the gospel of Mark. What did Jesus do?
• Taught in the synagogue
• Healed a person

Epiphany: a time of learning about Jesus, about how Jesus is the light of the world and about the things that Jesus does.
Jesus teaches
Jesus heals

In a few weeks, in Lent, we are going to be invited to look at all of those things that need to be healed in us. Do you need to be healed? I do. We all need to be healed of something. What things might we need to be healed from? (get answers from kids and adults)

Today we learn who heals: God heals. Jesus is doing what God does, and so in the gospel story, that helped make Jesus get very famous very fast. That is going to cause problems for him later. Today it is enough to practice being with Jesus, praising Jesus, remembering how good Jesus is, so that we can remember that he is always with us when we think about our demons, the things from which we need to be healed, in Lent.

Work on your drawings as you choose. Let’s fill up on Alleluia and praise Jesus while we can … that we might remember him until he comes again.

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