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 2000


"I wish you joy in the Lord always. Again I say: all joy be yours. Be known to everyone for your consideration of others. The Lord is near; do not be anxious, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your thoughts in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7 (Revised English Bible)


This lovely powerful set of verses from The Letter to the Philippians is printed in the back of a devotional booklet that I take with me on hospital visits. The illness which results in a hospital stay can bring with it worry and concern. However, I have found that it is exactly under such circumstances that many people want to be thankful for the wider context of their life. They wish to place their prayers of anxiety and concern within the larger picture of thanksgiving. Coping with illness and upset may bring out in people a profound thankfulness for family, friends, co-workers, medical staff, and care givers. The reading from Philippians provides scriptural support in the struggle to broaden the focus, from illness and anxiety, to the love and consideration experienced from others.


What is true in intimate personal situations may be true as well in a societal and congregational setting.  These are not the easiest of times in which to be a church member. The difficulty and controversy surrounding the residential schools issue is a major present example of the pain and struggle of belonging. Questions about balancing justice, integrity, and compassion abound. However, these are not new questions; it is not likely they will cease to be asked any time soon. The message from Philippians is clear minded in the face of such confusion. Prayers of distress and anxiety should be offered up from a posture of Thanksgiving.


We have much to be thankful for as a church. Christian churches provide places of service and compassion in many communities. Churches offer support and counsel; they give space to service organizations; they house food banks and clothing depots; they uphold and encourage their members, many of whom give time and expertise to the wider community; they are advocates for justice; they are partners in promoting cultural and heritage endeavors. Our own parish is typical in that it is filled with talented people who are committed to a strong Christian community. Our fellowship here is a blessing!


In times past, Harvest Thanksgiving provided an opportunity to voice thankfulness for the wonder of life in the face of hard times. This Harvest Festival, people of faith may be feeling care and anxiety more keenly than usual. Bring our cares we may; but let's bring them as a thankful rejoicing people.


Archdeacon Rod Gillis