I mentioned before church services practically happened around the clock. The velorio did not lack for pastors and ministers to provide a reflection regarding the life of Ruben and the reality of death and resurrection. Every such time included some hymns or choruses, all sung by memory, and a devotional. I was informed by Samuel that my particularly time slot would be around 9 p.m. After singing several hymns (painfully slowly), a document was read that recounted all the many ways that Ruben had contributed to Emmanuel Assemblies of God church. He was church administrator, construction supervisor on three separate occasions, had built and hung a large wooden door for the church…the list was long.
Finally, it was my turn to speak. I mentioned that the difference between following Jesus and being religious is that religiosity comes from the outside, and is meant to fulfill certain spiritual expectations, but walking with Jesus, on the other hand, changes us from the inside out. I suggested that we should remember Ruben because of his generous heart, his contagious smile, and his loving demeanor. I supposed that Ruben would not want to be remembered as a religious man, and that his crowning achievement was not that he hung a door on the church, but that his life, in small and significant ways, gave testimony to his Redeemer.
All that we do, if we do it for the Lord and with the right motivations, may find its way on a list sometime, either man’s or God’s, but by far our more significant contribution is the influence we can have on another eternal soul. Conversations around the table, before or after church, as we walk in the way. We are all eternal, after all. As C.S. Lewis reminds us, there is no such thing as a normal, ordinary person. “Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.”
All of us had been impacted in some way by Ruben’s life. The next morning it was time to say our final goodbyes, although not really final after all, more like an hasta luego. What seemed like half the town walked or road on slowly moving vehicles a mile down the road from Ruben’s house to the graveyard. Ruben’s body is there, waiting to be raised, while he is enjoying the generosity of the consummate Host.