Our Favorite Sunday (A Liturgy of Joy)

FBC is not a liturgical church in the obvious sense. We choose our preaching topics, we don’t do much kneeling, and only “repeat-after-me” when we get the urge.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have liturgies. We, of course, have patterns and habits to our lives of worship that shape us, form us, and make us into the kinds of worshippers we are. We stand when we sing, we hear the Word preached every week, we receive a benediction, we mark every year with an Advent Series, and kick off the Fall with a Focus, etc.

One of my favorite parts of our liturgical practices together – particularly our liturgical calendar – is that we set aside the first Sunday in June to celebrate. We give full-throated energy toward cheering for and sending off the Seniors in Lighthouse, College Life, (and some sneaky grad students).

It is easy to see how Senior Sunday is for the students – they’re putting on the service, they’re being celebrated, the messaging is geared toward them and their next steps. But if it was only for them, we’d be doing it over a BBQ on Sunday afternoon. But the fact that we do Senior Sunday on Sunday morning for the whole church to join, means it is for the church, too.

Just like all liturgies – Senior Sunday isn’t just something we do – Senior Sunday does something to us. It makes us into a kind of church willing to make this crazy investment. We are a church who does the hard work of investing in students not just so they are a blessing here, but for them to go be a blessing somewhere else. I know from a decade of experience; this investment has a unique mix of joy and pain. It doesn’t help our bottom-line, there’s not an obvious return-on-investment; you only do this kind of work if you think it matters.

Of course, the investment is done throughout the year and across years, but one Sunday every year, we stop and tell ourselves these stories again. We are reminded of we are. We celebrate the students who we’ve hoped to form and disciple. We cheer them on (maybe with a tear or two) as they take our investment and leave us for what’s next. We become acutely aware that this matters.

It’s a glorious Sunday. And it’s this Sunday. I hope to see you there.

Peter Nittler

College Pastor


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