Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
 "Food for Thought"
Last week my Epistle Message featured “Savories” – along with the idea of savoring things. The “foodie” theme continues this week. It must be the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the yummy foods that stir up our excitement for these feasting highlights of the year. However, it was last Sunday’s collect prayer that has kept me interested in a food focus. The collect is that prayer included in a service that is supposed to orient us to what is important thematically for learning from the readings for the day. Last Sunday’s collect asked us “to read, mark and inwardly digest ” Scripture. 
There’s a lot about food in the Bible. I remember call stories for several of the Old Testament prophets about eating things. For example, God making Ezekiel eat a scroll (bitter becoming sweet tasting) to, it seems, to get him energized to prophesy. John the
Baptist ate locusts and honey, a weird combination – maybe honey makes the crunch go down. There’s the feeding of the thousands and, of course, the most memorable meal of all, the Last Supper. There’s scarcity and abundance, bitterness and sweetness, crunchiness and smoothness, all sorts of different flavors and things to digest in the food stories in the Bible. And table fellowship whether biblical or secular can leave one feeling full and satisfied or with heart burn and indigestion.
Our current Bible readings lead us to and through Advent up to the Feast of the Nativity. Initially, we’ve had to digest apocalyptic (not easy to do) readings for several Sundays. There’s more of some of that hard-to-swallow, end times judgment food for thought as we enter Advent and make our way through several courses until “dessert” time: Christmas morning being served up offering sweetness, delight and joy.
The word that jumped out boldly for me in last Sunday’s collect was the word “digest.” Because I had to do something with a Gospel passage that certainly sounded like food we would rather avoid. (Check out the digestibility of that sermon linked here.) To digest: “What does that look like?” Just what are we being asked to do when we’re told to digest something? I tried to remember grade school or even high school life science classes but drew a blank. So, I went to “Dr. Google” and found what I needed. Basically, here’s my understanding of a simple summary of the digestive process from the mouth onward. Basically from beginning to end the process can be quickly summarized as: 1) taking it all in, 2) breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces 3) so it can flow though our system, 4) get absorbed into our system in the most nourishing way 5) and then finally a letting go of what is no longer needed. Did I summarize this graphically enough in a sensitive way?
The collect prayer asks us to do this digestive thing with Bible readings, especially difficult when we are confronted with those passages less tasty on the palate and hard to swallow, much less to digest. However, I wonder if this admonition to inwardly digest something can be applied not only to the next few weeks of scripture offerings but also to the Thanksgiving to Christmas time that can also be very difficult to digest. Such a crazy time with so many unrealistic expectations in light of the season’s overly flavored, economically stewed let’s gather, feast and be merry heated up promotion. 
Scientifically speaking digestion is a slow intentional process. It is organic. A body knows exactly what to do, how to work with what it is given to best extract the essence of what we need to be nourished, strengthened, vitalized. What we need to take in and process to help us become physically, mentally and psychologically supple, fit and ready to be fully alive. Digestion is a body/mind/spirit process. Our bodies are primed to offer digestion as optimally a life-giving process. We can be mindful and co-operative with this process or we can interfere with it by over-doing, over-stressing, over-worrying. We can put too much on our plate. We can pick the wrong things to eat given our true organic natural self. We can turn something sweet and nourishing into something bitter. We can make things indigestible. We can interfere with what our body wants to do with what it is offered. Or we can take in what is God given to us, offer digestion time to run its course in the most nourishing way for us. We can savor it all and let that time sweeten and energize life in a way that quickens our desire for more of the sustaining goodness of life. 
As this season of feasting unfolds, take it all it. Savor the bits and pieces; let them flow smoothly through your system. Let what is nourishing be absorbed into the deepest parts of you and flow throughout all of you. Let go of what is not needed, the waste-full parts. Let yourself be freed up to live into the lovingly nourished life you were meant to live. Really, it’s quite simple – just let it happen. Fill your plate with what is nourishing; pass by what is indigestible. Then savor what excites your palate and will be relished by your spirit. Of course, leaving plenty of room for dessert: the sweetness and joy of Christmas morning.


food pictures downloaded from on-line ads, no copyright infringement intended. Background photo of fabric designed by Asif Shaikh used with permission from publisher, the Textile Eye and photographer, Saana Dean.
Quote of the Week:

is not just a day
It's a Lifestyle !
Quote is from the roadside sign of
Calvary Methodist Church on Historyland Highway

Link to Torrence's Sermon from 11-17-19
Please note the change in date of the Farnham Vestry meeting from the 19 th to the 26 th of November.
Register now for the November 23 rd
Paper Conservation Workshop,

Preserving, Storing and Displaying Important Papers: Documents, Prints, Watercolors and Maps.

$25 members, $35 non-members.
click to download form or click here to register on-line.
We could use more service assistants! Are you willing to read, be an usher, a crucifer, or a chalicer? Please talk to Torrence.

Please take pictures of church activities for the
E-pistle and E-mail them to parishchurchnews@gmail.com by Monday for Tuesday publication.
2 nd Annual Haitian Meal packing at the Rappahannock HS gym.
Jan 18 th from 10 - 12.
$35 / person
There will be more about this in future E-pistles, but please e-mail the church office or Torrence if you are interested in participating!
Torrence held the second of four  “Souper” Bible Study classes Monday and continues next week from 6-8 p.m. Monday evening starting with a soup and bread supper. Please let Torrence know if you are interested in attending.
If you can't make it Monday evening, there will be Tuesday morning sessions beginning at 10:00 a.m . and ending at noon with a soup and bread lunch and conversation. Please join us for either or both.
Your YMCA membership brings an extra benefit this December. Take a walk on the wild side and enjoy unlimited visits to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News from December 1-31. YMCA members will also enjoy a 10% discount in the gift shop and food service locations. Stop by the Welcome Desk at your local YMCA for a membership verification form and show it, along with a photo ID, and your membership card (key tag or app), at the Virginia Living Museum front desk.  see full story here
Volunteers are needed for the following projects:

  • Annual Mailing on November 25th

  • At the Thrift Store 

  • For 12 Days of Christmas Market at the Women's club of Northumberland in Lottsburg Dec. 6th and 7th.

Donations are Needed for the Holiday Season

to find out more, go to the website here
Tickets may be purchased in Heathsville at St. Stephen's Thrift Shop or on-line here.
In the Church
Sunday November 24 th

Morning Prayer

Celtic Themed Service

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Thursday November 28


simple Morning Prayer, no music

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

Sunday December 1 st
Holy Eucharist

1 st Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Sunday December 8 th
2 nd Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer at Farnham

11:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
at St. John's

In the Parish Hall

Come Worship With Us
Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. at Farnham Church

11:00 a.m. St. John's Church

Farnham Church
St. John's Church