“I know Clara Reuben!”

At last summer’s synodical convention in Tampa, the exhibitor hall was a great place to escape some of the long business sessions and presentations when my brain and bottom just couldn’t endure any more. Every Concordia was represented along with every shape and size of ministry at home and abroad.

One morning I stopped by a booth promoting a ministry to Jewish people. I don’t remember the name of the ministry or the person I spoke with, but I do remember speaking about the time Steve Cohen came to my congregation to do the presentation Christ in the Passover. I then shared how years later I had met Clara Reuben, who did some amazing Jewish outreach on Long Island and in South Florida.

At the mention of her name, his face lit up and he exclaimed, “I know Clara Reuben!”

What a small world! Clara was the great-grandmother of one of my confirmation students. I visited Clara a number of times during the last year of her life when she lived in my town. I was privileged to be one of the few Clara never expelled from her home. Clara began every visit by asking, “Do you love Jesus?” She would always tell me, “I kicked the last minister out. He didn’t love Jesus!” And then she would double-check, “Do you love Jesus?”

Of course I do. But more importantly, she did. No nonsense here. No political correctness or cultural sensitivity. You either love the Lord or not. No pussy-footing around. Just cut to the chase. Either he’s Lord, or he’s not. Got a problem with that? Get out!

We could all learn a lot from Clara Reuben about outreach, evangelism and faith. I know I did.

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