Rev Anthony (Tony) Grainger
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July 1, 2020

“Let me announce the decree of the Lord: he said to me, “You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your
possession.” Psalm 2:7,8.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On this Canada day 2020, I was reminded that I came to Canada in 1970; fifty years of blessings, a new
home and subsequently a family. On this Canada Day it is good, I hope for all of us, to celebrate and
remember the many blessings we enjoy now and have benefitted from over the years. Political stability and,
until recently, a stable economy and good health care are blessings of themselves.

However when we look a little deeper to the detail and drama of Creation for instance, I hope most of us
can see something every day that reminds us of God’s hand upon this land. Not just mountains and prairies
and the like, but a richness in everyday life and beauty. Consider too the multi-faceted make-up of peoples,
both native and from so many other parts of the world. The people, past and present, who have and
continue to contribute to our diverse society and express their lives in so many ordinary and extraordinary
ways.

There is, and likely always will be, significant strife in our land, and in many countries around the world.
This will likely endure until the fulfillment of the Kingdom of our God. However there is much to celebrate in
our personal lives, in the life of our community of St James; in our city and province, and in our whole
country. It is fitting that Canada’s national ‘motto, ‘A Mari Usque Ad Mare’, is in part borrowed from Psalm
78: 8, ”May He rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

I have always found the following illustration stimulating to consider how full is my life, and with what I count
as significant. Perhaps you will too.

‘A professor stood before his philosophy class and placed some items on the table in front of him. When the
class began, he picked up a large jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if
the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar gently.
The pebbles rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was
full. They agreed it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He asked once more if the jar was
full. The students answered with a unanimous yes. The professor then produced two cups of tea and
poured the contents into the jar effectively filling the entire space between the sand particles. The students
laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends and your passions – things that if
everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other
things that matter, like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff. If
you were to put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life. If you spend your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for
the important things. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children.
Take time to get medical check-ups. Take you partner or a friend to dinner. Play another 18 holes or bake a
cake. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and asked what the tea represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad
you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a
couple of cups of tea with a friend.”

For us as Christians; with God’s help, what do we need to remove from ‘life’s jar’ to make room, to know the
true fullness of life, as the Lord and his Holy Spirit would show us?

Every Blessing for this Canada Day, and the future,

Tony
Interim priest-in-charge


The parents felt that at last they could leave Johnny at home with Granny while they went abroad for the
first holiday alone for many years. By the time three days were up Mother was anxious and phoned home.

‘How are you, Johnny darling?’

‘Fine’” said Johnny, ‘everything’s fine, except the cat’s dead.’

Mother was grief stricken with the shock of this sudden tragedy and left the phone weeping copious tears
over the unexpected loss of her very precious cat. Father was shocked to find her so distraught and went
back to the phone to finish the conversation, using the opportunity just to coax his son into a better way of
breaking bad news.

‘Look son, I know you have had little experience in this area but bad news needs to be broken gradually –
your mother needed some kind of warning to soften the blow. What you might have said was something
along the lines of “Well the cat’s on the garage roof and I can’t get her down.’ The next day you could add
that the cat’s not eating. Finally on the next call you can break the bad news. Do you see what I am getting
at son?’

“Yes Dad – I see. I’m sorry.”

Three days later, Mother phoned again to hear the latest news from home.

“Hello Johnny! How are you doing?”

‘Fine,’ said Johnny, ‘yes everything is fine, except that Granny’s on the garage roof and I can’t get her
down!’