Monday, October 23, 2006

happy ending?

This week we get to the end of Job's story (literally, even--he dies, old and "full of days").

Here's a link to Job 42

At first read, it looks like a happy ending.

But there are still some questions--
like that it's not entirely satisfying that he suffered so much at all, or that God would allow us to be used in a contest with Satan;
and that it feels odd he had to "repent" before receiving his blessings, when he hadn't really deserved the suffering that raised his questions;
and that, even though he got new riches and new kids, God certainly didn't undo the depth of grief he went through. As Karen keeps reminding me when we talk of Job, the kids in the "happy ending" weren't the same kids.

The Gospel lesson this week provides similar challenge, especially as we seek to be a community that is truly inclusive of people living with disabilities: we read of and celebrate Bartimaeus's healing from blindness, but resist believing that blind people need to be healed to be whole.

You can read Mark 10:46-52

Perhaps the "happy ending" we seek is much harder to describe and to envision.

My own experience is that good endings in the stories of my friends' lives are seldom tidy. New love kindled out of grief does not erase grief. New joy in a child's birth does not undo the pain of a long struggle for fertility.

Instead, new restoration invites us to a place we've never been before, to a new possibility and hope lived out not in getting back to what we knew before (in the "good old days"), but in moving forward to new possibilities.

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