Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 23: Year 2
“Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.” (Jonah 3:4 and 5)
Jonah did not like the people of Nineveh. He preferred all of them to be destroyed. But God loved them. God wanted to save them. I can see Jonah walking through Nineveh sarcastically uttering the words, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ He probably said the words in a low tone, hoping the people would not hear him. That way he could say to God he did the work, but knowing it was not his best effort.
However, the people did hear him and repented, much to Jonah’s disappointment. Jonah learned that God loved the people that he did not love. God loved the people who oppressed him and his people. God loves the people today of the other political party. God loves the people of the other race. We all need to realize that God’s love is not limited to us and our kind. God is “all” kinds and loves all kinds.
In the end, Jonah would rather die than have the people of Nineveh be saved. I truly hope we don’t sink to that level. More than that, we need to ask God to help us to see the other as God sees them. And when we have come to our true selves, do the Lord’s work as if we ourselves came up with the idea. There should be no hint that we are not pleased to do what God is asking us to do.
Pleased be cautioned however. If people of your group, be it political party, race, gender, orientation, nationality, or any human segregation, your own people will turn against you. But you will have God on your side. Who else do you need? When you help the other, do not wish you were dead instead like Jonah. Whether we like it or not, God loves all people because God is good, all the time, and everywhere.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John