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Thursday, October 14, 2010


Today at Morning Prayer we read about Jonah. Jonah is someone with whom most of us can relate. On our life journey we frequently say (and think) "I wish God would tell me what to do!" We try to do the right thing but aren't always sure what it is. If only God would speak to us.....

Then suddenly He speaks. "Go at once to Nineveh..." and we bolt in the other direction as fast as we can go, muttering any number of excuses for our reluctance. "I am too old, I am too young. I am not a public speaker. I am not good with kids (or the elderly). I can't afford it. I don't have time." It is hard to keep up with all of the reasons because they flow so fast.

Jonah does not want to preach to Nineveh. Nineveh is in Assria and its occupants are enemies of ancient Jews. Yet the point of the story seems to be that God loves and cares for these foreign people (and also the many animals!). Jonah was sent to these people to call them to change their lives and turn back to God. Then Jonah was mad when they repented and God relented. Another point seems to be that sometimes we are tempted to hold our God back from other people because we do not want to believe His love is wide enough for them, too. The recognition that God calls all people and loves all people is one of the great surprises of the Bible. Perhaps equally surprising is God's judgment. Jonah preaches a word of hope, but also a word of doom. Without repentance the people will perish. Love and judgment go together. I admit I do not know how to balance the two sometimes. I know many prefer one or the other when talking about God. Read Jonah yourself, it is very short. Tell me what you think.

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