Brief Encounters - Reflection by Canon Myles


Read Canon Myles' reflection for Thursday, August 8, 2020.

Some of you will know that Canon Bob and I go back a very long way, to the time when we were together in school in Crosby. I know you will find this hard to believe, but I am just a couple of years older than him. It is probably fair to say that neither Bob nor I have kept in touch with the school all that often since we left. After a gap of almost thirty years, I met up once more with a small group of friends from sixth form days, and we now manage to get together for a reunion meal occasionally, as well as keeping in touch through email.

This year the school celebrates its 400th anniversary, and when their plans were first formed, I was contacted about the possibility of a service at the Cathedral to mark the occasion. This was to have taken place in March, but has been postponed because of Corona virus.

When my retirement was announced last month, to my surprise the school featured my news in their on line magazine.  As a result, two of my former school-friends have been in touch to wish me well, and I was delighted to hear from them both.  I have only seen each of them once in the last fifty years! One spent many years with Merseyside police, and called in at the vicarage in Seaforth for a cup of tea one afternoon. The other was best man at a wedding for another school friend at which I officiated. It was good to hear from them, and perhaps one day we will meet up, though one lives in the north of Scotland and the other in south-west England.

Our lives have many chapters, and looking back, we see it is not always those who seem close at the time who become lasting, significant relationships.

Perhaps the Cathedral’s key word, Encounter, may help us here. Encounter can be just a chance moment - or so it seems. Those we encounter at school are those who happen to be in the same age group and who live in the same locality. We may have little else in common. In my case, those encountered at theological college presumably all shared some sense of call from God, but the variety of age, experience and vision for the future all blend to shape the experience we share of two or three years in community, and the God of surprises uses this to shape the future of each one, to God’s glory. Those we encounter in pastoral ministry, especially in moments of joy or sorrow, all help to form us, as we in our turn hope to be of help to them.

In each encounter, we may find be changed by the God who goes on surprising us. May we never stop being open to being surprised.

Canon Myles

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