Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Thanksgiving 2010

 

"The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and all who live here" (Psalm 24:1)

 

Our afternoon stop is a local winery at the village of Saint Pierre on Ile d'Orleans just outside Quebec City.

"How long is the growing season here"?

The attendant pours a taster's sample into my glass as he replies to my question.

" From about May until the end of September we planned to start the harvest this morning; but because of the rain it will have to wait until tomorrow."

 

The harvest is the bounty of grapes used to make the offering of wines. The rich red I sampled had a hint of the sacramental. It seemed fitting somehow. Over several days we traveled through the verdant St. Lawrence River Valley. Hay was in the fields, apples and pumpkins were piled high for sale by local growers, the hardwoods had turned brilliant. The length of the St. Lawrence and northern New Brunswick stretched out as a long rich autumn sacrament on either side of the highway. The sacrament was abundant in both produce and history. Cartier and Champlain made first contact here at the birth of New France. First Nations Names like Montagnais and Maliseet are rooted in the countryside. Such are "the people" who had made the survival of the earliest colonists possible.

 

Thanksgiving in the midst of the bucolic comes easy; but what about life grounded in what we have come to call "infrastructure"? Montreal was as vibrant and energetic as always; but rue St. Catherine was closed for blocks for urban renewal. Above ground was the sound of heavy equipment, jackhammers, and traffic. The construction workers are likely thankful to have work in this economy. Underground the metro hummed and the stations were packed with harried commuters. Scores of students and young workers hurry on to make their stake in the world. Out on the streets French and English intermingles with accents from many lands. No doubt some are newcomers thankful to be here. They come bearing their own distinctive gifts at the birth of the future. The growers and farmers of the countryside are likely thankful for the highways and rail lines that move their goods and for the electricity carried on power lines that cross some of the richest farmland on the planet. Concealed above in the afternoon sky are the satellites that link both the office tower and the rural merchant with the whole inhabited world.

 

I want to resist dividing up the one world that the Creator has given us. Thankfulness is not just about enjoying the view. Thankfulness is an awareness of being part of the great web of life. Thankfulness is being grateful for the labor of others both past and present. Thankfulness is the inquiring and discerning heart that chooses with care the contribution he or she will offer to the world. Jesus described the kingdom of God as a vineyard. It's a parable about God's world and all of us who dwell therein. We are thankful, Lord, to be here.

 

The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis

Harvest Thanksgiving 2010