John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column


by John Howard Farmer

The Bible tells us to expect great things from our Eastern horizon

Visit the Irvington Baptist Church website

Arriving home at the launch of fall color has been a delight. Decades ago on a fall weekend, bride and I were treated to a virtual feast for the senses. We had been busy in downtown Irvington for the better part of the week. We had to catch up on things undone prior to our vacation.

We dabbled into the realm of things psychological by hosting a seminar with the Dr. H. Stephen Glenn (1941-2004), teacher, mentor, author, relationship speaker. He was a Norwegian by birth, a Californian by choice and a new granddad of a northern Virginia chap.

Later that weekend, we had time to retreat to our former river cottage, to rejoice in the surroundings and check-up on my stepmom, the late Mrs. Rosena Ritger Farmer.

Early that Saturday my eyes almost popped out. The Yankee Point Marina disgorged a bevy of sailboats to participate in the Hospice Turkey Shoot. It was wonderful to sit and observe the array of boats as they passed by our front windows, just off the end of our dock. Each time I would comment about the nature, design, virtues and esthetics about some boat passing by, another yet more stupendous would come into view. What a treat it was.

The day was spent in catching up on such things as future articles, finishing off the coming week’s church bulletin. More time than warranted was utilized in plowing fresh ground in the correspondence corner.

Friends, I have lived on both U.S. coasts and on the windward side of Oahu. We have lived in the hills about Lynchburg, and elsewhere along the levies of west Tennessee. Metropolitan city lights and country nights have captured my imagination. Still, my eyes cannot contain the joy, the beauty, of living in Lancaster County.

The annual September event has now moved to the Carter Creek arena. My computer sat at right angle to the Corrotoman River, upon what we used to call a card table, tucked into a corner. Since Baptists don’t play cards, I guess it would have to be a folding utility table. My right peripheral vision was on watch for anything of note along the western shore of the river. Later that week I got a neck strain from the boats. My neck hinges grew weak from such radial movement.

These days my view is of our pond, the field across the lane, punctuated by vehicular traffic to and from Irvington.

However, Hospice is a very important part of my life, my ministry. I have served on the board of directors in two different states. I wish I could thank each skipper for helping such a worthwhile cause, in such a fine community of fantastic citizens.

I had a two-fold prayer span going. Each boat got a special “thank you” prayer for skipper and crew, as it passed in review. Little boys like boats, don’t you know? Additionally, I found it exhilarating to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving that so many citizens found time to incorporate recreation with community service.

Later in the afternoon my bride slipped into the kitchen and brewed us a steeping cup of coffee. The sun had outdone itself, all day. We walked to the end of the dock. There we sat, sipped and inventoried the returning fleet. We had sufficient wraps upon us and rejoiced at the warmth of the setting sun. He drenched our backs, our shoulders. Again, I counted my blessings. I do hope that the participating crews were aware of just how many answers to prayer they became, from their adoption of Hospice Support Services of the Northern Neck.

This year, the 2018 Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta (September 28-30) hails from the Rappahannock River Yacht Club, Irvington.

I love church services. I love volunteer musicians, soloists and choirs. I love hearing the varieties of preaching as are represented hereabouts. I am overwhelmed though, when I find my fellow citizens engaged in being a Good Samaritan out in the public.

That brings me to a salient point. As important as corporate worship is, it pales by comparison with the experience of participating in sharing the gospel of Christ by personal witness. Doing the gospel, as opposed to singing and/or preaching it, elevates the message.

Some will argue that not all the boats, the crews I viewed, were caught up in a worthwhile endeavor. No matter, great good resulted. Fresh to my mind comes the words of the master spoken in Mark and Luke: “He who is not against us is for us…” How might we change the warp and weave of things were we to acknowledge how we see Christ in others?

Think about it. Look for it. Countless generous acts highlight the lives of all about us. It would only take a few minutes to point out to those caught being good just how grateful we are for their stewardship of life. Relate those folks to Jesus.



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