top of page


Job's Friends - Peter Malakoff

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.


William Blake Satan Smiting Job With Sor

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 again


bottom of page