Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Remembering Bishop Rueben Job

From One Degree of Glory to Another

A Tribute to the Life and Death of Bishop Rueben P. Job,
Feb. 7, 1928 – Jan. 3, 2015

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NRSV)

The countenance of Bishop Rueben P. Job shows us the meaning of this extraordinary vision for Christian life, expressed by St. Paul. As tributes pour in for our beloved Bishop Job, words such as humble, faithful, prayerful, visionary, spiritual mentor are used to describe him, as one “living and praying in the Spirit of Christ.”

As pastor, Bishop, World Editor of the Upper Room, author of more than 20 books, mentor and spiritual director to many, Bishop Job exemplified the spiritual life to which he constantly called us. In Bishop Job’s manner of living and dying, we glimpse the possibility of the transformed life described by St. Paul. You and I are invited to look face to face into the glory of God and to allow ourselves to be transformed from one degree of glory into another as did Bishop Job.

Raised on a prairie farm in North Dakota, he graduated in 1957 from Evangelical Theological Seminary, one of two seminaries joining to create Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Bringing the Evangelical United Brethren legacy into The United Methodist Church, Bishop Job became known for his call for the renewal of spiritual life within the church. He contributed to this renewal with his constant stream of publications including A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, co-written with Norm Shawchuck, followed by A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God. His book, Three Simple Rules, brought the themes of the historic Wesleyan Societies into contemporary life.

Like so many others, I also knew Bishop Job in a more personal way. He graciously became a discernment partner for us in our family decision in 1993 to move from Northern California to Northern Indiana to work with the renewal of Oakwood Spiritual Life Center. I well remember personal visits and phone conversations in which his wisdom helped confirm our decision.  From this move a few years later came my work at Garrett-Evangelical as Professor of Spiritual Formation.

As we thought on the possibility of creating an endowed professorship in spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, we could not imagine a better way to honor the seminary’s alumnus, Rueben Job, and to assure the continuation of his work in spiritual formation than to ask his permission to seek the endowment in his name. He honored us by allowing us to honor him in this way.

Peace and blessings, Rueben, in this transition for which you so well prepared yourself. In your own writings on dying and your peaceful passing, you show us how the “mortal body puts on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:53). You surely are being transformed from the degree of glory you shared with us in earthly life to a yet brighter degree of glory in the eternal life.

Prayers for Beverly and your family.

Find many more tributes to the life and witness of Bishop Job at The Upper Room website.

Dwight Judy, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Formation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, author of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

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