Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bad Things Happen...

It's the oldest story in the book... Literally. The story of Job. You know - in the Bible. It's the one about the guy who suffered the contest between God and Satan - the righteous man with everything going for him who suddenly finds himself beset with bad upon bad? The man who loses his wealth and his children, then wakes up one day covered with boils? The guy whose wife tells him to curse God and die...whose friends pretty much tell him the same? Every faith tradition has its version of the story, which presents the question we'd all like an answer to: Why do bad things happen? Job came to mind this morning as I scoured the World Health Organization's posts about a possible swine flu pandemic. I have to admit, I was enjoying the ludicrousness of the latest news way too much. I found myself conjuring up an image of Barack Obama sitting at his desk on 100th-Day-Eve by dawn's early light. Before him was the list of "must fix" top 10 issues: 1. the economy that collapsed under the watch of the last leader 2. the greedy, unrepentent bankers 3. the bumbling auto makers 4. the outrageous budget deficit 5. the wars in iraq & afghanistan 6. the swords rattling in pakistan 7. the underpinnings crumbling in india 8. the bellicose chest pounding in iran 9. the pirates off the coast of somalia And...this just in: 10. SWINE FLU at near pandemic status Never mind the list of campaign promises. Those were made in the pre-Job days. I don't pretend to know where President Obama falls on the "Righteous Man Meter"... but I do know he carries the domestic hopes of the majority of Americans on his shoulders, along with the international hopes of most of the world. It's politics, of course, not church... But hope for a better world is our church in action. Check your faith stories. When hope dies, evil triumphs. I like carrying my vision of the President of the United States at his desk to the moment he picks up his pen with his left hand and begins to draw boxes beside each issue on the list. Then he writes, in all caps, above his new column of boxes "DONE"... and he moves on with the belief that there will be a check in every box. Eventually. In the meantime...wash your hands. And be part of keeping hope alive! Peace.

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