JOB'S FRIENDS

Job's Friends - Peter Malakoff
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The story of Job is in the Old Testament: 

 

Job was a good man who even God honored.

 

Satan (the adversarial aspect of God), spoke to Him one day,

 

remarking that Job was such a good man

 

precisely because God had honored and rewarded him.

 

Satan bet God that if he was allowed to persecute Job

 

and to create terrible suffering in his life,

 

then Job would turn against God and curse him.

 

God took Satan's bet and allowed Satan to have his way.

 

In a quick series of events, Satan took away Job's wealth,

 

killed his family and then afflicted him with painful boils.

 

I have a friend, Vera. 

She has sparkling beautiful blue eyes and a lovely face.

 

She is suffering from Lou Gehrigs disease.

 

It is a disease which progressively paralyzes the body.

 

For some time now, she has not been able to move her limbs at all.

 

Now she is losing her ability to speak.

 

It was her request to me, to provide her with stories, poems and songs

 

from the religious traditions of the world.

 

It was her wish that occasioned our gathering here tonight.

 

This is a unique and a special moment

 

which I would like to consider a little more.

 

Why have we come here tonight?

 

Most of you know Elaine and I as friends

 

and have honored our request to come here

 

and that is very beautiful.

 

But, you have also come for Vera.

 

You have come because the travail or suffering of any person,

 

is the travail of each of us

 

and Vera’s life is a rare and terrible thing

 

that calls us to consider the mystery of our own.

 

Her suffering makes us ask,

 

'Why' and 'How' did this come to happen

 

In a very real way, we are here for ourselves.

 

Because Vera has been touched with unique bodily affliction,

 

our being here likens us to the gathering of Job's friends in biblical times.

 

They gathered around him in his terrible suffering.

 

They offered up their reasons and comforting feelings,

 

each giving his own vision of God, Truth, Meaning and Purpose

 

And, that is certainly what we will do here tonight.

 

Each of us is touched and moved and in our sharing,

 

We too will offer our vision of life

 

according to our different understandings

 

Some of us feel that we should dance and laugh


For we are all dying


Some feel that we must be serious


For we are all dying


Others will lift their voice and sing


For we are all dying


And all of us will wonder if what we have done is right


 

For we all are dying

 

Certainly, we have brought here tonight

 

Our own pain


 

Our happiness


Our understanding

 

Our Love

 

All of this we will throw into the sacrificial fire of this gathering


And all of us will also take back the unspeakable Prasad of common ashes

 

 

I am reminded of a poem by Rumi.

 

In which he says,

 

"Even though we may have failed

 

Even though we may not of done the right thing,

 

Even though we may not of said the proper words or done the good act

 

Even though we have 'broken our vow a thousand times'

 

Even then we should come again to God"

 

 

Come, Come whoever you are


Wanderer, worshipper


Lover of leaving


Ours is not a caravan of despair


Come, come again, Come


Even if you have broken your vow a thousand times


Come


Come again


Come