From the Pastor . . .

In Ten Years . . .

If you could look into the future, where will Saint Athanasius be in ten years? That's not an easy question to answer. If you had asked me that ten years ago, my answer would have been completely wrong! God has a way of doing things that is quite different than our own thoughts and plans. Sometimes we are disappointed, but sometimes we are delighted.

One thing that delighted me (and still does!) is all the folks God has led to us. Some of those folks are still here; some have come and already moved on. But what a blessing they were to us while here, and, we pray, we to them. And maybe before ten years are up Jesus will return, and we will be reunited with them and all our fellow Athanasians past and present, in the Church Triumphant! Who knows?

But we are always looking to the future, uncertain as it is. We have an opportunity to begin a Deaf Ministry - the Executive Board is looking into that right now. Wouldn't that be great? Your Board of Evangelism is always trying to think of ways to reach out to our community and create opportunities for you to do so. Our Commission of Mercy is trying to help you live out your faith in care for our friends and neighbors. We dream of having our own place - will that ever be? Soon our seminarians will receive calls and become pastors in the church, and new seminarians will take their place.

The next ten years could also be very challenging ones for the church as well. Hostility toward those who hold to the truth of the Scriptures may continue and even increase, bringing a time of testing and persecution. Perhaps our congregation will experience other kinds of sorrows. We just don't know.

But there is one thing we do know, one thing we can count on, one thing we know will never change, and that is the love and mercy of our God and Saviour. His Word will be proclaimed, even if there are many who reject it. His Sacraments will continue to be given, cleansing, feeding, and strengthening His flock. And His Church will go on, for the gates of hell cannot stand against it. Those are promises we can cling to and rely on, no matter what the future holds.

This Easter season we rejoice in those promises, as sure and true for us as Jesus' empty tomb. He lives, and so will we. And in a world and life where not much is certain, how good to have a foundation that cannot be shaken.

So this we know: In ten years . . . we will be with Jesus, either here in time or there in eternity. Thanks be to God!

His servant and yours,

Pastor Douthwaite

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