The Rev’d Robert J. Warren
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

In June I will celebrate my 30th year as a priest in the Church. Long enough Warren - some might say - why not go into sales while you still have your looks! We were one of the last large groups of ordinands at McGill University and the Montreal Diocesan Theological College - trudging through through first and second year Greek, Church History and Systematic Theology. Two of our number are now bishops. A few have had a little trouble over the years. The rest of us are still hip deep
in the river - greeting what flows down towards us and saying au revoir to what carries on beyond our gaze. I am just now starting to suffer occasional bouts of nostalgia as I remember a collection of old saints from previous parishes who now worship in a Greater Light and those who were at the time
small children and are now grown-ups with their own families and responsibilities.

We were together for a chunk of time and in particular places. Vague ideas of Kingdom there became actual instances, in time and space, of the Kingdom’s reach and mechanism. It was as if large nets had been cast which had gathered scattered species of very different fish into a single and identifiable harvest. As local congregations we were who we became together.

The process is not lost on Paul the Apostle: “...we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.”

Not only is the relationship between a pastor and his flock one (potentially) of the privileged sharing of selves but the relationship among us all can be of that type and nature - if you will allow it and will permit yourself to revel in it. Within a small congregation like ours it is the richness of building bridges with other selves which endures for the longest time. It is what those of our number who are living elsewhere remember about their time with us - that they did not only hear the story of Patriarchs, Prophets, Disciples and Saints who journeyed with God in the company of fellow saints - it’s what they themselves did here, through work and school and the raising of families. They forged their own sacred histories in concert with others.

It can be done.

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