Firstly – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR WILKE!! Today we get to celebrate you and I wish you only the most joy-filled, blessed day. 

Birthdays are so much fun (or at least for the Enneagram type 7s like myself). And I feel that celebrating is something we have definitely not done enough during Covid. One of my all-time favourite videos on Instagram is of a family who celebrates Corona virus as a birthday – they have the kids singing weekly ‘Happy birthday, dear Covid” – with a cake, candles and the whole shebang. I absolutely thrive on watching it because the joy is contagious! 

Joy is contagious – linger on that for a moment. And then ask yourself: Why are we not celebrating in the midst of all this?! 

Why do we allow all the darkness, all the ‘dirt’, all the negativity, to consume us? It happens so easily that we often get to the end of a day and wonder why we are drained (screen-time does play a factor but just bear with me here). 

The beauty of being a follower of Jesus, or better yet, a RADICAL WITNESS, is that we get to praise God anywhere, any time. And the bonus – praise releases instant joy. And joy is contagious. 

There are so many beautiful Hebrew words for the word praise, but I must keep this short so I will share the meaning of the all-familiar one with you: 

Hallelujah 

The Hallelujah is that important call to worship and bookend to send us out – to be RADICAL WITNESSES. 

Jack Taylor in his book, The Hallelujah Factor, calls this word the premier word for worship. 

Halal is the most prolific word translated as praise, appearing 96 times in the Old Testament. Halal is: “to be clear, to be brilliant… to be brightness of light; to make a show; to be foolish.” 

Ah is a shortened version for God. 

So hallelujah literally means to PRAISE GOD! 

The word we sing is actually a transliteration into English, and at the same time, many other languages will pronounce it the same (Unity much? ). 

How profound it is that we are all tied together in the body of Christ by this particular word. 

Psalm 106:1 says, Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: For His lovingkindness is everlasting!” This promise alone should be enough reason to praise Him. 

Here is my point: 

When the door is open, we should praise Him. When the door is shut, we should still praise him. But I think the most difficult thing for us to do is to praise Him in the hallway – in the wait. Because we hate waiting. Yet the entire Bible is filled with stories of wait – Lazarus’s resurrection was only miraculous BECAUSE Jesus knew to wait so that the people would WITNESS, and therefore, believe. They became radical witnesses. 

When you take up a stance of worship, you are allowing God’s fruit to consume you – JOY! No one (I know of) can say that they still feel morbid after listening to worship music. 

The best part of this is that the enemy will shrivel up and retreat whenever you raise a hallelujah, so do so OFTEN!!  

We are made to praise. We are made to worship. We are made for JOY! And on that note, I will cue the music as our closing prayer: 

Go out and be a radical witness, not afraid to raise a hallelujah in the midst of a pandemic! 

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