From the Pastor . . .

June 16

There are many days that are significant in everyone's life. A birthday, a wedding anniversary, an ordination day. June 16th is a significant day for me. Here's why:

This year this is the day my daughter Sarah will graduate from High School. That means that now the majority of my children will be high school graduates! She will be one of 700 or so to walk across the stage and receive her diploma. Most of the people won't care about her; they don't even know her. Hers is just another name to get through so they can leave and begin to celebrate. But for me and my family, it is a milestone and we will be filled with pride.

But this day was already a special one for me as twenty years ago, this was the day I performed my very first baptism - for my son, Robbie. It was also Father's Day that year. So this new father was giving his son a new Father, and a better one, on Father's Day! There weren't 700 there that day to witness the event; actually there were many, many more than that! For the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven were there, myriads upon myriads of angels, to welcome into their family a new little boy, a new child of God, through the waters of Holy Baptism. So this day wasn't just a significant one for me, but for the whole host of heaven, and for God Himself, who adopted a child that day.

So June 16th is a pretty cool day for me.

Each issue of our newsletter has a catechism focus (in case you haven't noticed!), and this month's - fittingly - is baptism. Make sure you read the "On the Catechism" page and the quotations from Luther and Athanasius as well.

And while you're at it, if you don't already know, find out what day you were baptized, for that is a significant day for you! It is the day you became a child of God, adopted into His family, and given the gifts of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness (Acts 2:38). And try to find your baptismal certificate also. That is your birth certificate for your second birth, your re-birth, when you were born again, born from above.

And what about birthmarks? Do you have one? Most people do, I think. Did you know you also have a baptismal birthmark? As part of the baptismal liturgy you are marked with the sign of the cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified. You cannot see that birthmark, but God can! You belong to Him.

And here's another good tradition for you: celebrate your baptismal birthday! Don't have just one birthday, but two, each year. Some folks use the candle that was given to them when they were baptized to mark that day - that's a wonderful tradition. But however you remember it, remember it! And not just once a year, but everyday. For your baptism is significant for you every day of your life. The promises your Father in heaven gave to you that day last forever. And so one of Luther's favorite sayings was: I am baptized! Whenever he was tempted, whenever he was tormented, whenever he had doubts, whenever he felt alone, whenever he was in trouble, he would remind himself and proclaim: I am baptized! I am a child of God. And my Father in heaven is a good and gracious Father who does not leave or abandon or forsake His children. And I am His child. He baptized me. He adopted me. I am His. What great confidence that gives to face whatever come your way each day. What a great day, therefore, is that day for you.

His servant and yours,

Pastor Douthwaite

Missouri Synod
114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor
Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church