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 2008


"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest." (Luke 10:2)


The Maritimes are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers at the moment. Many skilled people are out in the Alberta oil patch. Plenty of employment in one place means fewer workers elsewhere. It's one example of the tension that exists between abundance and scarcity.


Biblical scholars often refer to Jesus as an itinerant preacher. It means that Jesus walked a lot--from one end of Palestine to another.  As he traveled he preached about the kingdom of God. In his travels, during the several harvest seasons of Palestine, Jesus would pass by fields rich with grapes, olives, grains and the like. Ancient Palestine had only the most basic tools for harvesting. Harvest time was labor intensive. It was important to get the crop out of the field as quickly as possible. A shortage of workers meant a slow harvest with an increased risk to the valuable crop. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few..." Abundance in the field might be compromised by a scarcity of workers. Jesus used this serious situation as a metaphor for mission. There are so many opportunities to bring in the kingdom of God. Will too few disciples compromise the abundance of God's kingdom?


Scarcity and abundance are found in most societies both ancient and modern. It is not unusual for prosperity and want to be found in the same community. Jesus encountered many poor people living near those fields of plenty. The homeless poor of today are found trying to get by on streets thriving with business and commerce.


Our world encourages us to celebrate Thanksgiving with an abundance of family, friends, and food. It's a theme that graces the covers of magazines at this time of year. The Harvest festivals described in Scripture link gratitude with generosity and justice. I think Harvest Thanksgiving presents a particular challenge to Christians to bridge the gap between scarcity and abundance. We bridge some of the gap between scarcity and abundance when we take time to pray for someone or to spend time with them. We bridge the gap between scarcity and abundance when we share our talents and abilities in order to improve the life and vitality of our community. We bridge the gap between scarcity and abundance when we share our income, according to our means, for the work and mission of our church and for charities in the wider community.


It is important to observe Thanksgiving by numbering our blessings.  However, Thanksgiving is also a time to measure abundance in terms of our relationships with others. Let's understand discipleship as our abundant and generous response to scarcity and need, as we build up the community of God.


The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis

Harvest Thanksgiving 2008