OK, wrong chapter of Jonah, but my inner tummeler (Yiddish for kind of an all purpose entertainer and joke teller who gets people engaged) can’t resist bad puns. I don’t know about you, but I love and I do mean love, when we get to the story of the prophet Jonah in the Lectionary. Jonah is not in the belly of the whale this week, that happened already. Today Jonah joins us as he is making his way to and through Nineveh.
Nineveh was a huge city and it was going to take him 3 days to get through it. This does not happen however – after a day of Jonah proclaiming God’s will, the people donned their sackcloth and ashes.
I think about our current times and how someone is always going off about how we have to repent. I guess that notion in general, in the context of a sort of finger-wagging-give-it-up-for-Jesus is upsetting to me. Do you feel that way? Well – I do!
Repent means to literally re-think and to re-think and then re-act which would mean to turn to God. We must turn to God, not give him, if you have been following the readings, “burnt offerings.” Those offerings without love and real change from deep in the heart turns out to not be much of an offering. It is no more than the pagan’s ministrations to appease the angry Gods.
Our God calls us forth with great love – so much so that we can withstand 3 days “in the belly of the whale” – or in the 3 days of death before new life or in the day that it takes to “turn” Nineveh. It is love that proclaims the Kingdom, not fear.
The Kingdom is at hand, in the belly, in the dark and in the now. Believe it, know it, live it and be surprised, joyful, and grateful with the results.