Finding Faith: 'Rally Sunday' an important tradition worth celebrating

Rally Sunday in decades past called for much more pageantry, including even parades! Not unlike how schools treat the start of fall school now.

Devlyn Brooks 2021
Devlyn Brooks
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Just as the return to school for teachers and students serves as a touchstone in the academic year, September also serves as a bookend for many faith communities.

This Sunday our church, along with many others, will host Rally Sunday, a celebration of the start of our church year.

While our church will celebrate with a Sunday school student backpack blessing, recognition of our teachers for their commitment and a potluck dinner together after church, Rally Sunday in decades past called for much more pageantry, including even parades! Not unlike how schools treat the start of fall school now.

It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost such a tradition in the church, I think. But then again the ebbs and flows of the entire liturgical calendar have lost their significance for all but the most ardent faithful. That saddens me.

For me, the church calendar is like a metronome, of sorts, that moves me in and out of seasons of far more importance than the meteorological ones.


Rally Sunday will move our church toward Reformation Sunday, All Saints Sunday and Christ the King Sunday, which will move us into Advent, then the time after Epiphany, then Lent, then Holy Week and Easter, after which comes Pentecost and a whole lot of “ordinary time.” That is the church year in a brief nutshell.

Mind you, the religious calendar our church follows is Protestant-based. And many Christian denominations — and even local churches — will follow their own variations of the liturgical calendar. And let us not forget that other religions have their own calendars, with their own festivals and celebrations!

But that diversity doesn’t diminish my love for our particular church calendar. In fact, I believe the layering of the various faith traditions’ calendars alongside each other just deepens the beauty of such celebrations of faith!

If we consider the ways that we humans mark time, whether it be the Gregorian calendar or meteorological seasons, they’re all just constructs anyway, and none more meaningful than the other.

But for me, the liturgical calendar happens to be the way of measuring time that speaks to my soul. Far more so than the turning of the calendar page!

Rally Sunday is so filled with the Holy Spirit that I know I will feel the vibrancy around me when our church comes back together this weekend! As I step in front of the lectern on Sunday, the hairs on my arms will stand on end, there will be a tingling up and down my spine, and grin a mile wide as I welcome back our faith family for another church year!

Happy Rally Sunday — or your equivalent! — to all!

"After a couple of years of celebrating apart because of the pandemic, and also for having just lived through another rancorous national election, we all could use the joy and hope and anticipation that is promised us in Christmas, in the birth of a mighty little king born in a manger."

Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at for comments and story ideas.
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