From the Pastor . . .

You Don't Know What You Got 'Til It's Gone

What have you missed during the lockdown? Eating out? Going shopping? Getting together with friends? Traveling? All of the above? For me, add to that list getting a haircut! All these are things we take for granted . . . until we can't. And then we realize how fortunate we are.

And some of you, I know, would add going to church to that list. (Music to a Pastor's ears!) Did we take that for granted before now? Assume that we could just always go and so, what's the big deal in missing a week or two? But then we could no longer go as before . . . and it hasn't been easy.

So maybe one of the blessings that will come out of this time of lockdown is a realization of how blessed we are to be able to go to church every week, and a renewed commitment to do so! Maybe we won't so easily let other things get in the way anymore. We need the gifts given there, including the fellowship we have with one another. We didn't have it just for a little while, and it was tough.

But now think, too: How many don't have this at all? We have a church to go back to, but others do not. How can we help them? How can we share the joy we have in re-opening with others? Especially those who have been so frightened and anxious during this time? How can we tell them of the confidence and certainty we have in Jesus, and that they can have this too? Perhaps this time of lockdown has exposed a need, or an emptiness, or hole in someone's life they didn't realize was there before.

Of course, your Board for Evangelism and Outreach is thinking about this very thing, and always trying to point out ways to help you do this. Rachel Hébert has agreed to be our new Social Media coordinator and is excited to help! She has lots of good ideas. You can link what she posts on our church accounts with your own social media. What about our live streamed services? Maybe you can point someone to our YouTube channel, or even watch a service with them yourself! Pick a service with a sermon that particularly stood out to you, and watching with them you could explain what we're doing in the liturgy and what it means.

Of course, maybe you've missed more than the Divine Service. Maybe you haven't been to a Bible Study in some time. Well, we now have our Wednesday Evening online Bible Study for you! We're currently studying the book of Ezekiel, which has been very interesting. We meet in our WebEx room - come join us!

Now, we haven't been able to re-open everything yet - we still aren't having our Sunday morning Bible Study or Sunday School, and no official fellowship time after church. We won't be able to have VBS. No Higher Things conferences this year either. These are all things we perhaps have taken for granted as well, and will look forward to having next year.

And what else for you? What can we as a church be doing to re-open, re-capture, and re-claim what had perhaps been taken for granted or lost? Please give it some thought and let me know. Let's use this time of re-opening as a time of re-newal and re-commitment. Keep your church and our leaders in your prayers. We've been through a difficult time - will we try to quickly move past it and forget it? Or can we use it as a blessing to help us? God uses all things for our good - how about this?

His servant and yours,

          Pastor Douthwaite

Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church
Missouri Synod
Church Location: 114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Mailing Address: 3057 Nutley Street Suite 822, Fairfax, VA  22031
703-455-4003                       Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor