The Chrome Horn - Racing With Jesus Ministries

by Rev. Don Rivers

  So many words come to mind as a picture silently speaks to the soul. That effervescent smile behind the camera has given us a priceless gift, an image of our journey. Oh the stories they will tell. Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus, our Savior.

  As I search for words to contain all that is going on inside I thought of a bottle of coke, so many tiny bubbles floating to the surface to be released, exploding in little fireworks of liquid. My mind is full, my thoughts are many and they just keep coming. Ah, the effervescence that was Mr. Howie Hodge.

  It was a cold fall day with mist in the air. We were attempting to close out the Busch North Season for the third time. It wasn’t looking promising. This rookie Chaplain with RWJM was more than a little intimidated. I was on my own for the first time, not all too confident of the what, where and how’s of the game. I needed some guidance and encouragement.

  I parked on the wet grass labeled media, figuring that would be okay. That’s where we met. Howie and Mary were arriving and came over to introduce themselves and to offer any assistance they could. Thank you Lord for answering my prayer. It wasn’t too long before I was standing with them in the “media room” in a small green building on the main stretch. Did I mention the coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts? God is good!

  I knew the name, had seen some of the body of work, never actually met them until that day. Most of my involvement in the racing community was from a fan perspective. I had always imagined the view from the other side of the fence. God provided a perfect guide.

  Through his lens he had seen so many things, the good, the bad and the ugly as they say. He knew what to cherish and what wasn’t worth giving a second look. He had a gift for revealing to us the whole story. Regardless of what was said the pictures told it all.

  We have been given volumes upon volumes of stories recorded in pictures. I am sure the words will never be written to cover each one. As you gaze upon them and remember that moment, that day, that event, thank the good Lord above for giving us such a dedicated servant that recorded the things our mind may soon forget.

  With such great memories there is great pain, grief, a sense of loss. We have lost not just a member of the family, but someone who showed us our true nature. Someone who recorded for us the snapshots of our lives. The story that takes so many words to say.

 The reality of life is it ends. We are given a certain time on this earth by God through Jesus Christ. We are not told when that time has come. Jesus determines our time, like a gardener that tends to the crops and determines which ones are ready. He may pluck the most fragrant flower. He may remove the choking weeds. We are here for only a moment. We need to use that time to reach out and touch the lives around us.

  That fact wasn’t lost on Howie, he touched so many with his kindness. I am reminded of how we need to reflect the character of God. The key is to be ready and watching. While God’s love for us doesn’t change, our usefulness to Him depends on how we respond to that love. We must live a noble life, reflecting the fruit of the Holy Spirit that we read about in Galatians 5:22, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We must remove the hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, divisions and envy, those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. We must prepare to live a long life, but be ready to go at any moment.

Romans 8:38-39, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  The choice is ours. As we grieve we need to reflect on how we are living our own life. We need to evaluate how our living has helped or hurt those around us. We need to decide to live differently. Don’t let this moment pass in vain. Search your life, turn to God, He can and will have mercy, compassion and love for you.

  We are remembered for many things in life, where we live, worked and played. Polly Reid shared these thoughts;

  “Most likely, Howard will be remembered for his nearly fifty years of motorsports photography. Along with his wife Mary, they captured decades of auto racing through their lens for such publications as Area Auto Racing, Speedway Scene and The Chrome Horn as well as numerous other trade magazines and speedway programs. In the earlier years, Howard and Mary used to operate the photo booth at Stafford Motor Speedway and then the Waterford Speedbowl as well. That evolved to the pair becoming NASCAR photographers for the now called K&N Series as well as the Whelen Modified Tour. Working as a team, Howard and Mary’s travels brought them to over 150 speedways around the country with well-planned trips to local tracks along the way no matter what direction they were headed. Their last assignment was with Area Auto Racing News.”

  Howard and Mary Hodge were married for fifty-three years. Earlier in January, they were inducted into the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. A life lived together through the lens of the camera.

  Please keep Mary and Kevin in your thoughts and prayer along with the entire family. A special thank you for all their help to the staff at the St. Francis Hospital Cardiac Unit. Messages of condolence can be sent to: RWJM, PO Box 586, Tolland CT 06084 and we will get them to Mary and Kevin.

  Howie, you were right again, we didn’t make the 11:30 boat. We made the 11:00! God Speed my friend, see you soon. Rest in peace.

  Be a witness for our Lord with the ministry decals and apparel. See them at the Show Your Faith Apparel Store at www.rwjm.com. Send us your prayer and counseling needs no matter what part of our racing family you are in, or give us a call. Remember that God loves you, we love you and

Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.

   Mail reaches us at Racing with Jesus Ministries, PO Box 586, Tolland, CT 06084.

   Check our weekly printed pages in "Area Auto Racing News",
   the East Coast’s largest weekly racing paper.

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   Check our home page http://www.rwjm.com for past articles.

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Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."

   May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don


PO Box 586
Tolland, CT, 06084

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Source: Rev Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries
Posted: February 3, 2017

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