“Mercy” Jonah 4:10-11

Pastor Tom’s Weekly Blog.                                  “Mercy”                       Jonah chapter 4

September 25, 2020

“Then the Lord said, ‘you are more concerned about the bush, for which you did not grow; it came into being in a night perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’”  Jonah 4:10-11

 

The story of Jonah is about a journey of calling, running, thanking, responding, repentance, and mercy. When Jonah experienced God’s mercy towards the city of Nineveh, a town he just told was going to know God’s wrath, he was angry. Perhaps he was angry because he looked bad; maybe his anger boiled because he just wanted to be done with those terrible Ninevites. Bottom line is that Jonah’s pride was broken; he really felt he and God were on the same page. No matter what Jonah felt about Nineveh, God’s love superseded those feelings. Funny thing about God’s love, it does not depend on our ego, pride, or judgment about other people, only that it is a reality and eternal for all people who believe. Christian writer Ann Lamott states that, “you know you have created God in your image when God hates the same people you do.” Fact is, Jesus died on a cross for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, political party, or any other human-created classification of God’s people; Jesus does not base mercy and grace on what we think, but rather on the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.” (Cory Asbury) This is good news, really Good News. In Jonah’s mind, God was done with the people of Nineveh, Jonah certainly was. But God is never done with us, never gives up on us, and never ceases to love us. Often times our vision of life is limited by our own worldview, and our personal journey and the challenges that have been along the way. It is like traveling at night; what we see basically with what is within the beam of our headlights; that is what we see and that is what we experience. When the sun rises, our vision is well beyond the light we created and is consumed by the light God shares. Our lives are important to God there is no doubt, at the same time, the lives around us are just as important and are part of the mosaic of life, knit together by shared experience and a loving God whose love never ends, not even at the point of death on a cross. The story of Jonah is about hope, hope for a world that needs the healing presence of Jesus more than ever. It speaks of being convinced, absolutely convinced that “neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [you] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) Thank you Jesus!

Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor

Fields United Methodist Church


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