Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye

Friday, August 14, 2015
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Matthew 8:26 – And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (KJV)

Often's the time when attending a celebration of life for the spouse or relative of a friend that the title of today's devotional has come to mind. It is also the title of a book about President John Fitzgerald Kennedy from the non-political perspective of two of his closest friends and advisors, David Powers and Kenneth O'Donnell.

Such was the case earlier this year when I was attending the service for the husband of a dear friend of mine. She and I met years ago through a group with whom we volunteered, and so it was she with whom I was most familiar, and I ran into her husband only now and then.

My friend, being older than I, was the voice of wonderful advice on being a mother-in-law and grandmother, long before I was one.

Her husband, on the other hand, had quite the sense of humour, which sometimes caused me to be taken aback, because he was a minister — a Presbyterian minister, mind you — and well, you know those fellows, those ones from our childhood: not only would we not call them by their first name, but more often than not, they were also a staunch no nonsense bunch. But Rev. Dave was different. Today would have been his 87th birthday.

Today's Scripture is something that he quoted one of the first times that I met him. A group of us were waiting on the waterfront until all members arrived for our scheduled walk. As it was a tad overcast, some of us had umbrellas — not open, mind you, but we had them. As he and his wife approached, his comment was, "Umbrellas? O ye of little faith!" And with what I came to know as his trademark twinkle in his eyes, off he went, for he was not part of the group, and had only accompanied her to join us. I wasn't quite sure how to take him.

And so it was with every encounter, by phone or in person, both of us being of Scottish heritage. He, of the twinkle in his eye, always had a quip for me, but to say that I knew him, I did not. It was only this one, small side of him that I knew, and not very well.

Until, that is, the day 'twas time to celebrate his life — and oh, what a celebration it was! Throngs of people came from the different communities that he'd preached at when filling in for ministers who were taking a much-needed break. There were bagpipes, and stories from his early years, family life, and as a preacher. Perhaps the most enlightening one was the story that his wife hadn't known that she was marrying a preacher. How could she not? Well, that was because he'd been a businessman and felt the call so strongly that he'd entered into theology as a married man, and thus enriched the lives of many, many who were blessed to have been part of his congregation.

Unfortunately, I was not. And to that I say, yes, Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the lives of those who hear Your call and dedicate their lives to Your service. May some, even some who are now reading this, hear that same call. Through Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

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Mary Daniel <>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for your message and blessings.

    Thanks for sharing a good reminder Mary.

    Thanks so much for sharing your memories today.

    I enjoyed your devotional. Made me smile. Thank you.

    Glad to “see” you still writing. Feels like a friend has returned.

    Thank you for sharing this devotional about an interesting life. Blessings.

    A wonderful devotional and now Dave is known, at least a little, by many of us. A very fitting tribute.

    Good story Mary, thanking God for all ministers devoting their lives to Him. I am going to a funeral tomorrow and have been thinking some of the same thoughts about how much I really knew this man (friends with his wife).

    Good morning Mary Daniel!! I was excited when I read your name at the end of Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye! Thank You, Lord, for the lives of those who hear Your call and dedicate their lives to Your service. Whether it is to Preach Your word or to share Your Spirit by writing devotional!!
    Thank you and thank all those who write for the PresbyCan Daily Devotional!

    What a wonderful story. Isn’t it precious how The Lord can give us these touching moments/relationships through people who will not be front and centre in our lives? It’s a bit like gold digging, every now and then you find a beautiful nugget – even though it’s not yours to keep, it’s something that keeps you digging, with joy in your heart. God bless.

    Thank you for today’s devotional.
    Our daughter is a Presbyterian minister. She was born three months early! We gave her back to the Lord that day and boy did he take her back! She has always had a heart for the Lord! She has a beautiful singing voice as well as a gift for preaching and she uses both to worship our God. All this to say, God has a plan for us from the very beginning! Thank you for hearing Him and using your talents to honor Him! Great devotional! Blessings.

    Hi Mary
    Though we have never met face to face we grew to know one another in writing for the Daily. I can remember the long talks we had and the things we shared. May we thank God for the way He put us together via the Daily — especially when we needed one another!
    Mary I can’t really say I hardly Knew Ye.
    Good to see you up and writing.
    God bless.

    Lynne, We have been reciting the Matt. 7:7 verse at our table in the dining room. It has been a very encouraging exercise. Finding our place of quiet waters and green pastures is oh so important for each of our lives! Thanks for writing.

    Hi Lynne,
    Green pastures and quiet waters! How we need to visit them frequently in this world of daily bad news that screams from the TV or the newspapers.
    Thank you for this reminder. I went outside at 1 a.m. the other night to relieve a time of stress and the Lord sent a brilliant shooting star in answer to my prayer. I knew He heard me but He just decided to emphasize the fact.
    Isn’t He wonderful?

    Mary: That is a good piece of writing – on his behalf – but still, a good piece of writing.

    Dear Mary Daniel,
    Your devotional reminds me of a saying I sometimes heard from a dear old Scotsman who attended the church of my childhood.
    His saying was:
    “There’s nerrrry a mite u doought about it; worrrry is unbelief.”
    Keep writing.

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