Rejoice Now!

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Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.
Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.
Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.

Those words begin the song of Christ’s victory, the Exsultet, announcing the movement from death to resurrection.

I chanted it as a deacon. I remember my intense practice with my voice teacher Miss Dottie. I made notes on the score. I rehearsed. I wanted to sing it as perfectly as I could. After all, it’s a huge moment in the liturgy for a deacon.

It wasn’t perfect. I missed a few notes. I was so focused on each note I didn’t give as much focus to the whole message of the ancient hymn.

I’ve continued to chant it through the years. I don’t serve a congregation with a vocational deacon, so I chant the Exsultet at almost every Easter Vigil. My notes written 15 years ago still adorn the pages I use.

I still miss a few notes, now more so due to the task of chanting the entirety of Holy Week. The words and notes combine for me now in a way they didn’t 15 years ago. Certain phrases catch me, so I pause just a bit when I chant the words, for to redeem a slave, he gave a son. My heart begins to waken to the joy of Easter when we hear on this night, God restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn.

I sing it with a confidence now. My voice has matured, yes. But I’ve also chanted the words over and over. They are no longer new. The notes aren’t unexpected. They wed themselves to my bones and heart. They root deeply within my soul. I can chant some parts from memory. This experience, chanting from memory, from repetition, and from my soul make the song come alive for me (and, I hope, for the congregation who is hearing).

Easter gives us an opportunity to practice the song Jesus gives us…again. We know the words. We’ve heard the parables and the teachings through the years. And yet, hearing them, reflecting on them, singing them again gives us a chance to become more familiar with our song of discipleship.

This year, 50 Days of Fabulous will offer reflections on one of the great teachings of Jesus, his Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke. Each week, one of our writers will offer daily reflections on a section of the sermon. We’ll journey for 50 days through the blessed and the woes. We’ll explore deeply the teachings of Jesus in this well-known but perhaps not as well-understood passage. We hope you will join us, asking your questions, adding your insights.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate 50 Days of Fabulous as we sing with our selves and souls, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”

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