Book of Jonah 1-4 (click for full reading)
“I called to the Lord out of my distress, and he answered me:”
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
This week we take a walk through the fascinating book of Jonah to see whether or not this ancient story has something to say to our modern lives. Here are just a few of the challenges Jonah raised for us…
• Sometimes we head in the opposite direction that the Lord would have us go. (Jonah said, find me the first ship out of here!)
• Sometimes we give up on ourselves altogether. (Jonah said, just throw me overboard!)
• We are often inclined to point the finger at somebody else’s sin. (Jonah did not believe Nineveh was even worthy of a call to repentance.)
• Sometimes the only time we turn to God is when we are in trouble. (How did I end up in the belly of this fish? I better start praying!)
• Sometimes we give grudgingly and hold back on God. (Jonah’s proclamation was only 8 words, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be destroyed!”)
• Sometimes the graciousness of God is more than we can take, especially when it extends even to those we consider enemies or otherwise unworthy. (Jonah thought he was better off dead than seeing God forgive the people of Nineveh)
God asks, have you any right to be angry?
Christ has taken your sin and died with it. He calls you to follow him. You are baptized in his name. You have been chosen and forgiven and sent. This promise continues to go out to every corner of the world. To Syria and Iran. To Cuba and Afghanistan. To Jamaica. To Tanzania. To the ends of the earth.
There is no limit to the reach of God’s grace. And today, on the last Sunday of January, 2015, God’s grace has found you.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
Take a moment to listen again to the message Fish Stories to help you consider the bullet points above and how each one connects with your own faith journey.
Let’s dust off our bibles this week and read the book of Jonah! It’s just four short chapters and it’s packed with action. Jonah’s prayer in the second chapter is so beautiful and important that the church has used it in worship for hundreds of years.