Health care reform or not, she did alright!

Health care reform or not, she did alright! The Scripps Howard News Service carried the story of Gregoria Martinez, 94, who was lovingly remembered by her family at her August 26 funeral in Quanah, Texas. In fact so many of her family attended her funeral that relatives handed out index cards to update addresses and telephone numbers while they had that many of them together. How large was Gregoria's family? She had eleven children, who in turn gave her ninety-eight grandchildren, who in turn gave her 164 great-grandchildren, who in turn gave her sixteen great-great-grandchildren-leaving her 289 descendents at the time of her death! The report indicates that the family has purposefully underestimated the figures, believing that the number could be as high as 500. That is one healthy family!

As we all know, President Obama and Congress are embroiled in a noisy and fractious health care reform debate. While Americans are agreed that something needs to be one to control escalating health care costs and while most of us express the desire for all citizens to have access to adequate health care, the more-heat-than-light generating debate over the details threatens any reform at all.

But leaving the debate aside, wouldn't it be wonderful if our nation were as preoccupied with health care of the heart? I don't mean the pumping organ, but rather that internal seat of our emotions, our hopes, our secret prayers, our touchstone with the divine. While this nation belongs to both the atheist and the faith-full, wouldn't we all be benefited by a collective quest to heal our fragmented lives, our increasingly isolated national soul. Not by mandating God and faith in the public school class rooms-that would be ultimately counterproductive. But by admitting our numinous sense of need, and validating our shared search for healing.

In our new fall series, "The Temple" (podcasts at this website), we meet a God who is so passionately devoted to the health of his earth children that in order to finally save them he brings all of history to a climactic drama in his celestial courtroom. And all of it for the sake of ultimate health reform: "'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land'" (II Chronicles 7:14). Heal the land-that has always been the divine agenda, hasn't it? It is the single health care reform that could expand the family of God far beyond 289 descendents! For if God had his way, every earth child of his would be insured by the red cross that still offers full coverage to everyone who wants him.