Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise God in the heights. – Psalm 148:1
One of the things that I love about reading and singing Psalms 145-150 is how many times one gets to say, “Hallelujah!” In fact, the root word for Hallelujah, Hallel, pops up in these six psalms 37 times! This means that these six psalms contain almost 40% of all the Hallels used in the entire Psalter!
Hallel is a great Hebraic word that typically means “praise.” The word Hallelujah is a command to the listener to “Praise the Lord!” Now, I think our English use (particularly overuse) of the word “praise” has cheapened its meaning. Here are some of the other words in which we render “Hallel” into English:
To be crazy/ecstatic/mad!
While “Praise the Lord” is the proper rendering of “Hallelujah,” think about the different connotations of the following: Shine in the Lord! Boast in the Lord! Glory in (or Glorify) the Lord! Be ecstatic in the Lord! Just as Penn State Football fans are all about the “We Are!” chant and singing “Sweet Caroline,” our use of the word “Hallelujah!” should have that kind of energy in our relationship with God.
This coming Sunday, we are celebrating Music Sunday, and it is often in music when we get to do our “stadium chant.” I, personally, am excited to sing Psalm 148 on Sunday. Also, don’t forget this Sunday we have our post-worship “tailgating” party. Bring a dish to share and come hungry! Hallelujah is the word we use to celebrate our Lord God’s victory over Death, and so it is proper that we feast.
God continue to be with you,
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+