The Pivot Point of the Year

Brad M. Griffin | Apr 2, 2010

Lately Ive been reading Joan Chittisters The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, a book that at face value may not seem to have much to do with youth ministry. But as a worship leader (and someone who teaches about worship in youth ministry), I have a bent toward believing in the power of the worshiping life of the church to shape kids identities in significant ways.

Practicing the historic seasons of the Christian year not only overlays our regular yearly calendar with deeper meaning, but grounds us in faithfully remembering the life of Christ through its seasons. Or as Chittister reminds us, The liturgical year is the arena where our life and the life of Jesus intersectIn [it] we walk with Jesus through all the details of his lifeand he walks with us in ours (16). For teenagers whose years feel at times frenzied and chaotic (and drastically different from one to the next), pacing through the seasons of the faith can offer a pivot point around which other calendars they live by begin to revolvenow and beyond high school.

This weekend marks the high point in the liturgical year. Thursday we remember the Last Supper and the gift of the Eucharist. Friday we relive the moment of deepest sadness in our history as we recall (and in many faith communities, physically re-enact) Jesus sacrificial death. Saturday we wait, the darkness of the tomb and the reality of death still lingering. And then Sunday comes. Chittister aptly writes, Easter Sunday is the moment Christmas points to, the moment the Passion obscures, the moment the tomb reveals (164). It is the center of the year, every year, for those of us who follow this Jesus. The Resurrection was so central for early Christians that in shifting worship to Sunday, every Sunday was seen as a little Eastera resurrection moment relived.

This weekend as we take part in whatever special rituals our church and youth ministry practice, may we also remember that were joining a great remembrance across time, across church divisions, and across the world as we join together to shout He is risen!

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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