Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Rector's Messages

Message Archive

 

Thanksgiving 1999

 

"Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." (St. Mark 9:50)

 

A great many of us in our part of the world have the privilege of dressing up our meals. If just as an occasional treat, we can add desserts, seasonings, and side dishes to enhance our experience at the table. I'm not much of a sweet tooth; but I do tend to favour foods with seasoning.  The Greek philosopher Aristotle cautioned that nothing in excess is good. I try to keep his advice before me when reaching for that wonderful seasoning.

 

Jesus used salt as a metaphor in his preaching. God's people are called to be "the salt of the earth." Salt, together with fire, are biblical symbols of purification. However it is salt as a seasoning which is the figure of speech in this saying: "Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with one another." Food becomes more appealing in its taste, more interesting, more of an enjoyable experience when seasoned. What a clever mixture of images our Lord uses here. The salty flavour of Christian community is joined to the notion of peace. Peace, in a biblical sense, means the all-abiding presence of God. The poor and the afflicted are seen as both the objects of God's mercy and the focus of human compassion. The effects are two fold. The Christian community, which lives out the call to peace, becomes a seasoning for society. The Christian community which has the authentic appeal and flavour of the kingdom is the one which is steeped in the peace of Christ. It requires great maturity of faith to live out of the mandate of peace. Compassion, generosity, sacrifice, and sharing are some of the strengths of character which flow from Christ's peace in our midst. It seems to be just this kind of spirituality which Jesus understands to be the way to give the world a taste for God's kingdom.

 

The themes of Harvest Thanksgiving exist in layer upon layer. I think we know what they are: Divine providence, the abundance of creation, thankful faithful hearts, family and friends, stewardship, social justice. These are themes of peace. These are the values of a Christianity worth its salt.

 

Archdeacon Rod Gillis