Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Thanksgiving 1998

 

"All Good Gifts Around Us"

 

The community in which I grew up drew its lifeblood from heavy industry. Coal and steel were the fibre and fabric of the local economy. The Thanksgiving Holiday was not an immediate fit with the economic activity of the area. The one major exception resided with the local fishing industry.  Traps and nets graced many a church sanctuary on Thanksgiving Sunday. Even in an industrial area, the theme of thanking God for the bounty and beauty of the earth shone through.  After all, many folks had relatives and roots in rural areas.  Others had gardens which offered up small quantities of vegetables.  Therefore rendering thanks to God was not, in the end, a strange experience.

 

I've been considering the hymns we will sing on Thanksgiving Sunday. They are in the language of planting, ploughing and reaping. These hymns will certainly strike a chord with those who tend gardens, those who spend time in the country, and those who have rural roots and memories. However, what about those of us whose experience of life is mainly urban? What about those of us who live in the world of industry, technology, and business?  What about those whose contact with the world and community is limited by the circumstances of life? Well I believe these same hymns provide us with a note of optimism. I'd like to suggest that Thanksgiving hymns, prayers, and readings will give voice to every heart. The hymns bid us thank God for the harvest, to be sure; but they also bid us be thankful for our life and our world. The hymns have us praise God for the gifts of joy, peace, community, and salvation which God bestows upon us all. I can't help but marvel that hymns which express such profound gratitude were written in such a laborious and difficult time. A successful harvest was the result of hard work, long days, and a constant contest with nature. The outcome was often very basic. Yet, thankfulness for the richness and depth of Divine love is a central theme.

 

Please join us this Thanksgiving holiday as we offer up hymns and prayers to God in thanksgiving for that which is bestowed upon us in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is in saying "thank.you" that we will be enabled to live thankful lives.

 

The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis