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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

We watched the play unfold. A pass back to the goaltender, who struck the ball to the midfielder. A run down the right side followed by a perfect cross to the center and a header to the back of the net by Alphonso Davies. The first ever goal by a Canadian men’s team at the World Cup. It was a jubilant moment. I am one of those fans who easily gets swept up in the emotion and energy of a game like this one, and on Saturday morning those who were still asleep were awakened by my cheers.

I am also one of those fans who has to turn away from time to time when games get too intense. When my nails have been gnawed to bits and I pace back and forth, I walk away to find a bit of perspective. Like Game Eight of the Canada-Russia Summit series in 1972. Our whole school was given the opportunity to watch the game on that warm September day. With Canada trailing in the third period, I couldn’t stand the suspense and so I left the room and stood outside, listening to the cheers and screams of my classmates, layered over top of Foster Hewitt’s play by play… I whispered prayers of intercessions and paced under the window.

Then with little time left on the clock, the game knotted at 5, a streaking Paul Henderson missed a pass from Yvan Cournoyer. He tumbled into the boards behind the net. Chased by a couple of Russian defense, Phil Esposito gobbled the loose puck and launched it back toward the net. Paul Henderson scooped the rebound from a sprawling Tretiak and put the puck in the back of the net with 34 seconds left. The TV room erupted. I sprung from my perch under the window and I rejoined the throng. My prayers were answered. I never saw the goal in real time, just the replay, but I heard it told by Foster Hewitt and by the jubilation of my friends. That was fifty years ago.

Watch, wait and listen. The Season of Advent invites us to go back in time to a moment long, long ago when God broke in. We are invited to watch the play unfold, to listen to prophets, angels and shepherds, to wait for God to show in a child born in a stable in Bethlehem. Advent summons us to stop the pacing and the gnawing of anxiety and to sit still in the knowledge, in the hope, in the anticipation that God has got this!

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto