Skip To Content
From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

It was sometime in 1972, before the movie appeared in the cinemas. My father was given a copy of the double album by a parishioner, who told him that he should take a listen. It was a Friday evening. Dad invited us all to join him in the living room to hear what all the fuss was about. He took the first disk from the now classic brown sleeve, which was emblazoned with gold images of angels praying. He placed the disk on the platter. The needle dropped into the groove and the rectory on Yates Street in St. Catharines grooved to the music of Jesus Christ Superstar. I don’t think the HiFi had ever rocked quite like that before.

We listened to the whole thing in one sitting. It took a bit for me to get into the groove. At the time, I had only ever heard the story of Holy Week properly told through the liturgy of the BCP. Now here was an interpretation sung through music that was familiar and popular. At first, I think I adopted the posture of restraint and modest disapproval. I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to like it or not. Some of the tracks were jarring. And yet my toes tapping to the music revealed quite a different sentiment. The slang, the groovy talk and the rhythm brought the scenes to life in a new way. Everything’s Alright, Heaven on Their Minds, I Don’t Know How to Love Him, Could We Start Again Please are just a few of the songs that invited me to step inside the story in a new way. For the first time, real life was engaging scripture and making it real for me.

It’s the Friday before the week of all weeks. Holy Week is the time that the Church invites us to listen, to watch, to pray and to remember what all the buzz is about. It is tempting to only listen to the tracks that appeal to us and skip over the parts that are jarring and uncomfortable. It’s tempting to come to Palm Sunday and then return for Easter. Like listening to a whole double album in one sitting, the week entices us to do likewise. Come apart, slow down. Bring your joy and hurt, your sorrow and anxiety. Bring yourself to engage with Stations of the Cross, Blessing of Oils, Maundy Thursday, Washing of the Feet, Stripping of the Altar, Veneration of the Cross, Easter Vigil, Sunrise Service, Easter Day.  

The journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Day is one seamless liturgy. Love breaks bread, pours out the wine. Love faces arrest and persecution. Love carries the cross and bears the shame. Love lets go that we might have life, eternal life. Love in Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto