Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tribute to a colleague

Tribute to a colleague, The Rev. Gordon McBride

The Reverend Gordon McBride, retired rector of Grace St. Paul’s, Tucson, has gone to rest in the soul of God, joining the communion of saints. He has set down his earthly pilgrim’s bag and taken up the journey of eternal formation. We commend our brother Gordon to the Presence of God the Trinity.

Meanwhile, here in this dimension of time, I will miss Gordon. He was a wise sage, skilled facilitator of the Commission on Ministry, a voice for a more progressive Christian theology, and an inspiration to those of us who dare to consider ourselves writers. His encouragement was that he made time during his life as a university parish priest to be the author he dreamed. And then he created the joyful space to travel and promote his works.

Gordon’s writing inspired me to be transparent and vulnerable about the inner life that I feared priests could not. For that, I am deeply appreciative. While he was committed to his craft, he didn’t take himself so seriously that he was unapproachable about the nuts and bolts of writing. He was always willing to share his knowledge with me. For that I am grateful and will miss. But, most of all, I will miss his presence, his provocation, his willingness to gently confront.

In the last few months we, and I, have lost two brothers of the priesthood, Gordon and the Rev. Richard George. Both were leaders, mentors and spiritual guides. Because they would expect as much, we will pray for them, their families and ourselves. And we will dare walk in their path, carrying our own pilgrim’s bag until it is our time to join them on the next journey, in the life on the otherside.

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