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 2001


"The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how .... But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-27,29. NRSV)


When I first began in parish ministry a great number of wonderful surprises awaited me. Many of those surprises came in the form of the life of the communities in which I was to serve. One delightful surprise was discovering the way in which Thanksgiving was celebrated in the small churches of farm country. Planting, tending, and sowing provides the framework of life. People adorn their churches with the produce of creation and the fruit of their labour. These things become a kind of sacramental sign of the relationship between God and people. I don't believe this relationship is often taken for granted. Harvest Thanksgiving is celebrated in both the good years and the lean years. Perhaps it is because of the regular and repeated celebration of harvest festival that the unexpected difficult years may be worked through in faith.


Jesus' parable (above) is a revelation illustrated from the obvious. The kingdom creates a place for us in this universe as surely as the farmer's planting creates a harvest. The parable counsels us not to give up on the kingdom when the rhythm of our life is disrupted by the tragic and the unexpected. There is also good evidence to believe that Jesus told this parable to caution those who would confuse the kingdom of God with their own impatient attempts to establish a kingdom by violent means.


This year both Canadians and Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving in the shadow of violence and disaster. It may be a lean year for hope and thanksgiving. Furthermore, many of us, about half the world's population, now live in cities. The rhythm of life is to a different drum. Yet this parable speaks still to our longing for security and a life brought to fruition. It speaks decisively about the inevitability of the Kingdom of God. It is a kingdom not to be taken by storm but harvested by the faithful.


Archdeacon Rod Gillis