A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: That the Holy Spirit is at work in us and through us.
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-4:11
Key Verses: 3:1-2 The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
Reflection: In our Weekday School, the older children visit the Godly Play room for their faith formation biweekly special class. They see and hear a Bible story told using simple beautiful wooden materials. Then, they wonder together about the story. The materials and the method of telling the story help to share the language of faith with them.
One of the stories on our Godly Play shelves is Jonah. The whale with its open mouth is a favorite of everyone. I love the wooden “waves” that get placed on the felt water. The little wooden boat can be placed on top of the waves to show just how stormy the situation got for Jonah and the sailors. The story is titled, “Jonah, the Backward Prophet.” In the language of Godly Play, prophets are “people who come so close to God, and God comes so close to them, that they know what God is telling them to do. Then they go do it.” But Jonah did the exact opposite of God’s wishes. He ran the other way. His backward response to God led to big trouble, but along the way some remarkable things happened in spite of Jonah’s reluctance. He knew he was the cause of the great storm, and he knew how to fix it, so he suggests the sailors throw him overboard. The story also says this: “Now a prophet is someone who brings people close to God by what he or she says or does. Jonah said nothing; but when the sea grew calm the sailors all fell down and worshiped the true God.” Even when he was running the other way, God worked through Jonah to change the lives of the sailors, and others too.
Is God calling you to be a prophet? Has God come so close to you that you know what God wants you to do? Are you bringing people close to God by what you say or do? Maybe God will use you even if you are running backwards away from the call of God. Maybe when you feel you are sinking, God will send something that looks, on first glance, to be a whale of a disaster, and turn it into your salvation. I wonder…
Prayer: God, come close to me and tell me what you want me to do and who you want me to be. Work through me, around me, in spite of me. Use me to share your good news with others. Teach me to trust in you no matter what. Through Christ the Lord I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].