Sunday, April 04, 2021

THE JUKEBOX HERO HYMNAL: Hymn 034: Sweathog – Hallelujah

Time to sneak one more tune into the Jukebox Hero Hymnal, and what better song for an Easter Sunday than Sweathog’s Hallelujah.

Sweathog was a lot more Southern and soulful than your typical San Francisco band, but alas, Hallelujah was their only Top 40 hit. Still, it was popular enough to get them on the road with some major acts including, oddly enough, Black Sabbath. You have to wonder what Sabbath fans made of lyrics like these…

I used to look at life
In a shade of gray
Til I found some satisfaction
In the things you say
You took me in your hands
And like a piece of clay
You made me a man, now
I'm proud to say
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

I'd wake up in the morning
And I'd wanna cry
'Cause all my needed answers
Were just passing by
My feelings getting stronger
Each and every day
Lord, now that I've got you
All I wanna say
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Oh sure, this could be interpreted as a simple love song, but the hallelujah is kind of a giveaway, isn’t it?

Hallelujah, which basically means “Praise God,” is the old Hebrew version of the word alleluia we use more often in the Church these days. Well, most of the time anyway. While the Alleluia is typically sung at mass just before the gospel reading, during Lent it’s removed to emphasize the penitential nature of the season. Instead of singing with the angels, we acknowledge our sins and practice repentance. That way, we make ourselves ready to once again be worthy of worshiping God as the angels do.

And after six long weeks of Lent, that day finally comes during the Easter vigil, and what a sense of relief it is. After all, as Saint Augustine said, "We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song." It just feels odd when it’s not there during Lent. Which is sort of the point, right?

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