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 2002


"Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the most high." (Psalm 50:14)


One of my friends is a professional artist.  I have become accustomed to seeing his beautiful finished works.  However, I recall once watching him sketch out the beginnings of a water colour.  He translated flowers, a vase, a veranda railing and a distant scenic backdrop, onto canvas with skilful ease.  What impressed me was the speed with which he captured the sense of distance, size and physical relationship of the objects one to another.  He has an expert grasp of perspective.  The ability to see things in their proper relationship is an important gift.  Perspective is not to be taken for granted.  Not long ago, I began wearing reading glasses.  I'm still trying to get used to the way in which they impair my ability to see from near to far.  I have to remember to look over the glasses to see into the distance clearly.  It's a small thing perhaps, but gaining perspective now requires effort.


At Harvest Thanksgiving we have an opportunity to "Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving ...".  We are bidden to say thank you to our creator for the wonder of creation, for the offer of divine love, and for the gift of salvation.  The notion of tying thanksgiving to sacrifice is curious.  As polite Canadians, many of us have been taught to believe that it does not cost anything to say thank you.  The psalmist seems to have a different view.  The psalmist tells the ancient world that the ritual offering of commodities to God cannot replace the offerings of a just and loving heart.  The psalmist has spiritual perspective.  The psalmist knows the importance of placing self in a proper relationship to such values as faith, love, justice, and service.


We sometimes lose our perspective.  It is often easy to distance God, to place others in the background, to understand our world in terms of what we achieve.  Harvest Thanksgiving is an opportunity to rediscover the nearness of the kingdom of God, to focus on faithful community, to see ourselves as creatures.  May this Thanksgiving holiday be an opportunity for renewed spiritual perspective.  A truly thankful life is a life offered up in service to both God and neighbour.


Archdeacon Rod Gillis


"Blessed are you, God of Glory; you call us to give up all our vain attempts to reach you, and to come before you in thanksgiving for your great salvation, shown to us in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Psalm 50 Prayer, B.A.S. p770)