Though Christians can’t attend church on Easter morning due to the coronavirus pandemic, they can worship God publicly and collectively from the safety of their own front porch.
At noon on Easter, Christians of all denominations are being urged to gather everyone in their household, step outside, and “Raise a Hallelujah”—shout praises to God, ring bells, and celebrate for 60 seconds.
Then, you can post a picture or video of your celebration on social media with the hashtag #RaiseAHallelujah, or in Spanish #levantaunaleluya, so others are encouraged.
The idea for this initiative began with a pastor in the Chicago suburbs—Trevor McMaken of City of Light Anglican Church in Aurora, Illinois. In an email to local pastors and Christian leaders, McMaken wrote, “This Easter we remember the hope of Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As churches across our city are unable to gather in person, let’s raise a hallelujah on our front porches to bring the hope of Jesus to our neighborhoods.”
“As churches across our city are unable to gather in person, let’s raise a hallelujah on our front porches to bring the hope of Jesus to our neighborhoods.”
I learned of the initiative after someone reached out to me on Facebook with an almost identical idea. I then reached out to my church, which is in McMaken’s diocese, and learned of the plan, which was already in the works.
Now, there’s a website for the initiative, thanks to the manager of my website, who donated his time for this project. There, you’ll find a countdown to noon that automatically adjusts to the time zone you’re in. The webpage also has shareable social media images, a social media feed, and a downloadable flyer you give to neighbors!
Please help me spread the word about this important initiative.
Raise a Hallelujah Song
As you may know, Raise a Hallelujah, is the title of a popular worship song. What you may not know, however, is why the song was written, which is powerful and relevant to our current crisis.
The song was written a couple years ago when an E.Coli infection had brought a two-year-old boy, Jaxon Taylor, to the brink of death. Jaxon’s father, Joel Taylor, who’s the CEO of Bethel Music, told worship leaders in his network about Jaxon’s plight. Two of them, Jonathan David and Melissa Hesler, responded by writing the song, Raise a Hallelujah.
Yet Jonathan David Hesler said his first response to the crisis with Jaxon was not faith, but doubt.
“I just felt like this giant of unbelief stood in front of me and I just thought, ‘Jaxon’s gonna die tonight,” Hesler said. “We’re not going to see the miracle.”
Then God began to move in Hesler’s heart.
“As this giant stood in front of me,” Helser said, “all of a sudden, out of my gut this song started coming out. I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies . . . My weapon is a melody . . . Heaven comes to fight for me.”
“As this giant stood in front of me, all of a sudden, out of my gut this song started coming out. I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies.”
Hesler and his wife recorded the song and sent it to Joel Taylor, who played the song repeatedly in his son’s presence. Slowly, little Jaxon began to get better and eventually was able to leave the hospital alive and well.
I can’t help but think that this song, and the truth it communicates, is exactly what we need to hear right now. While staring at death and a pandemic, we need to “sing in the middle of the storm” and remember the reality Easter proclaims: “Death is defeated, the King is alive!”
I know Bethel is a controversial movement, and I don’t mean these comments as an endorsement of the church or the movement. However, I wholeheartedly endorse this song. And I hope that you will meditate on its powerful words, and then join me in raising a collective hallelujah to our risen Lord on Easter morning.