January 5th, 2015

The subject of what happens when we die is not easily or often talked about in our culture, but it should be and must be talked about if we are to live fully, claiming our inheritance as children of a God of love. At the very center of our faith is the God of love, who leads us and will not let us go in this life and will not forsake us as we pass through the valley of the shadow of death to the city of light and life prepared for all who love God.

My life on our family farm was good. We were incredibly poor, but so was everyone else. I wore my brother's shoes, shirts and pants, as did everyone else who had an older brother. We had no near neighbors and seldom saw other children so school was a wonderful experience, although it was two and a half miles away if we followed the best road and much shorter if we walked across the fields.

We usually rode a horse to school, as did the other children who attended with us. The barn on the school ground was filled with hay every fall and our horses were inside eating while we were in school. In the spring, when my father and older brother needed the horses in the field, my next oldest brother and I walked to and from school.

School was dismissed at four in the afternoon and I would walk the short way home, unless there was too much water from melting snow; then I would follow the road. But either way I would approach our farmstead from a small hill. When I got to the top, there was our house about three blocks away.

I would begin running down that hill, unbuttoning my jacket, and if it was warm, my shirt. I burst into the kitchen that was filled with the aroma of fresh bread, or cookies prepared by my mother, just waiting for my arrival.

I loved school, the excitement of learning and the fun of being with other children, but there was no place like home and the loving welcome for me there. So I slipped off my clothes as I ran the last few blocks, ready to take off my “school clothes” and put on my “home clothes.” 

One day you will hear that Rueben has died. Let there be no sorrow, but instead celebration as you remind each other, “He just slipped out of his school clothes and put on his home clothes. He is at home now.”

Thanks be to God for the good news we share in Christ.

Bishop Job went home to be with the Lord on January 3, 2015. This is an excerpt from his book “Living Fully, Dying Well.” 

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