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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

The line of cars making their way to arrivals at Terminal 3 was long. Trucks, vans and automobiles swerved in and out of makeshift parking spots to load up belongings, family and friends.

She said she was standing by column six, and as I approached, there she was. She burst into the car, happy to be home after her first weeks of study at Dalhousie University. Our faces could not contain the glee of seeing each other. Sophie was home. On the drive, she said, “I have been wanting to do this for a long time…” She picked up my phone and on went our playlist: Green Day, Mumford and Sons, the Killers, Abba, Marvin Gaye… We sang our way. Over the years, our playlist has grown. It’s an eclectic collection of music that spans years and different genres. It has accompanied us on the road to school, to the arena, to appointments, to work. The lyrics and melodies have pursued us when we have been up and when we have been down.

Earlier in the week, the College of Bishops reflected on the passage from Luke 17:11-19. One of our regular patterns is to study the readings appointed for the Sunday coming, the playlist of the Church, as it were. And one of the options for this Sunday is the story of the Ten Lepers. The ten stand outside the village, waiting and wanting more than anything to be healed and to make their way home. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Imagine them hearing the command to go, and in going they are made well. Imagine them scampering, as quickly as their feet could carry them, and bursting in with the words…I’m home!

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Only one of them turned back. Imagine the scene. Imagine the acknowledgment for a life changed, the gratitude for a second chance and the restoring of purpose. One deemed by others as an outsider in a moment is brought home to God. Gratitude always brings us close.

No matter where you might be, no matter if you are up or you are down, no matter if you are far away or if you are close, take some time today, this weekend, and every day to offer thanks to God for life, for each breath, for friends, for family, for pew-mates and Zoom mates… and for every living creature on this fragile planet, our island home.

Thanks be to God!

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto