His coming and going was much more significant
Ruth and I have had the privilege of living over one-third of our life in Glendive. Our four parents died in Nebraska and Montana during this time. Our four children graduated from Dawson County High School, then went on to college and into various far-flung careers. And both of us have experienced life-threatening events here; Ruth’s was far more traumatic than mine.
We consider many people our friends. It is a pleasure to go downtown and do business with folks you know. You wonder why someone calls you by name, and then you remember that your name is printed on your jacket! It is enjoyable to shop and spend half your time visiting with people you have not seen for a while.
It would be impossible to experience life here for 25 years and to feel nothing upon leaving; that is certainly heightened with regard to the congregation at the Community Bible Church. Glendive will always be a part of our memory with much of that being fond. But, as I’ve said to some well-wishers, everyone comes and goes at some time or other — we just do it in different ways.
And some ask, ‘when will you be coming back?’ Well, since we haven’t even left yet, it’s difficult to answer that question. In fact, it is impossible to answer right now. We intend to take a year, if that is available to us, to relax, learn and consider our options. If we are able to rejuvenate, then after that we may become involved in activities and ministries that fit us.
Our coming and going is really rather insignificant. Especially when I think of Jesus’ coming and going. And coming again.
His first coming was certainly unique: born of a virgin, in fulfillment of prophecies, at a place for which a census required attendance, with visits from local humble folk and foreign dignitaries, after which a warrant for his death and others like Him by royal decree.
And His going on a similar level: executed on the basis of trumped-up charges for claimed identity along with dangerous criminals, in fulfillment of prophecies, attended by darkness and earthquake and resurrections. Very unusual! But more unusual was His reappearance three days later!
And forty days later He went away, this time to be gone for long. Even this leaving was beyond normal. He ascended in a cloud and was gone! But He said He’d be back, just as He left. Same place--on the Mount of Olives.
The world clamors for someone like Him but largely rejects Him being the One. He is the One who offers peace with God through faith in Himself. He can legitimately do that because of His unusual death and unique resurrection. He is the One who will bring, upon His return, first judgment and then a worldwide kingdom of peace. He can do it and will, because He has already conquered death. Many have taken others’ lives and even their own; He laid His down and took it up again. If He can do that, He can also rule this world — He is qualified.
My life has been devoted to studying Him and His message. I would hope to have helped others, but, in any case, the Object of my study has been thoroughly fascinating, often surprising, and for me life-transforming. That part of my life I would do again in a heartbeat. But I won’t have to — I’m looking for the next stage and especially for that day when He will appear to bring me to that home He’s preparing for me. Then I will finally have the house that will be just right! I hope you’ll come and visit me there — we will have such good times.
So when you think of our coming and going, think instead about His. That will do you much good now and forever.
Arlie Rauch is pastor at Community Bible Church in Glendive. He and his wife Ruth have recently been preparing to retire and move to Sierra Vista, Arizona.