Let Us Hold Fast

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In the formal form, we often praise God with the sober exclamation, ʺAlleluia!ʺ But Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, makes us want to shout our joy with a more innocent, excited, blissfully unfettered, ʺHallelujah!ʺ How can we hold in our joy? Our souls are like balloons, their thin walls tense with the effort to hold in all that inexpressible joy, but they can not, there is no need to now, because of Easter! So they literally burst with the release of joy. Hallelujah!! There are no words to express that joy more beautifully than, Hallelujah! Our souls literally dance with the joy of the great Good News of the resurrection. We clap our hands and dance for joy, shouting, Hallelujah!

And why not? This truth is too great to be kept as a bottled up secret. The death that led to this resurrection gives it the fullest sense of meaning. Death, the great fear, has been conquered, never to have power over us again. And it was defeated, once and for all, by the unconquerable force of love, God’s love, which manifested itself in an act of mercy so profound that it is beyond words. It can not be expressed in something as finite and ephemeral as words. God, the very Ground of Being, the Alpha and the Omega, entered into our humanity in Jesus, his only begotten Son, to show us what it means to be ‘fully’ human, and to show us what the real power of love is.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews puts it this way:

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Brothers and sisters: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.ʺ (Hebrews 4: 14-16)

This is why we can shout our joyous, ʺHallelujahs!ʺ Jesus, our great high priest, has come among us, suffered and died for us and, passing through the heavens, rose again, conquering sin and death, forever. Because of this, heaven has been opened to us again. Jesus is the key that has unlocked the ancient gates that were closed behind us after The Fall. Love is the key. A love so great, so vast, so powerful, that even our sins, our constant rebellions, could not defeat it. Because of this, we know now that we can ʺconfidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.ʺ We are overwhelmed with a joy so complete that it can not be held in. Because words are not enough, how else can we express ourselves but in our inarticulate shouts of joy? ʺHallelujah! Lord.

But now, because of this knowledge, it is our turn to love others as he loved us. There is no greater thanks we can give than to live our lives in his name. Let us now turn our Hallelujahs into loving actions. Let us feed the hungry with our Hallelujah joy. Let us give drink to the thirsty souls we meet during our days, with a joyous attitude. Let us visit the imprisoned and comfort the sick, out of the happiness that comes from our knowledge of what God has done for us.

It is time for us to turn our Easter joy into lives lived in and through the example of Jesus Christ, who lived for us, and died for us, and rose again, out of perfect love. Let us keep Jesus incarnate in the world every day through our joyful and thankful lives. We pray this, as always, in the name of Jesus. Amen

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.