Jonah "Re-Mixed"

A reading for Wednesday, November 9, 2016: Jonah 4.

If you said Amen to this sermon on Sunday... then I pray you will say it again today.

"That’s where we find Jonah in the end of book… in chapter 4 which is our lesson. Jonah would rather die that see the reconciliation that God has in store for the people of Nineveh. That’s pretty amazing considering how far Jonah has seen God go in God’s mission. How many others have been swallowed by a fish and delivered to their destination.

But before we go getting self-righteous about Jonah. I wonder if we would be any different if it were us in the same situation. What would we do? Would we be any happier at the prospect of our enemies success and prosperity? If God wanted to bring peace to those we are opposed to or even peace to those that have oppressed us, would we willing be part of that? Or would we hide out?

The good news for us today is that perhaps the stakes are not nearly as high for us as they were for Jonah or even for the Jews being killed by bullets. For some in the world that’s not true, but for us it is. Thanks be to God most of us don’t have to face that kind of violence and tragedy. Stories like we have shared today have the affect of bringing us to our knees in sorrow and gratitude. May it never happen again, is what Jews even today say to one another.

But that’s what a story like Jonah can teach us. On Tuesday of this week a very significant thing happens in our nation. It’s election day, and this year maybe more than any other in my lifetime we are facing an incredibly divided and contentious American people. We have already seen violence and the rhetoric has never been more caustic. I hope you plan to vote if you have not already. It’s an important part of our responsibility as Christians to seek the welfare of our nation and it’s people by considering the candidates and casting our votes. That’s Tuesday…

But on Wednesday, our challenge may feel a little like Jonah to seek the reconciliation of our enemies and come together as a nation. I know many of us won’t want to do that. Many of us will be angry at the outcome. We will want to escape. I’ve heard friends of mine say they are heading to another country to start over if the candidate or the party they don’t respect at all wins. Sound familiar?

But here’s what’s at stake and the story of Jonah illustrates it perfectly. Without our willingness to go to the places where we aren’t comfortable and to offer help and hope even to our enemies, reconciliation can’t happen. What if Jonah never made it to Nineveh? Violence and brutality would have continued to happen for generations.

What I know is that we must find a way to reconcile the differences we find between us as Americans in 2016? Will we come together? Can we seek the welfare of those we see as our enemies?

Today is All Saints Day and we stand literally on the shoulders of those men and women that have come before us. They have given us a mighty heritage of faith. Some of them fought in the very war we have been talking about. Others of them put themselves at risk standing up against tyranny and oppression in other ways. They participated in civil rights, or women’s issues. The names we share today are names that represent reconciliation and salvation. These have been reconciled to God and they are still speaking to us today. Fix it. Come together. Stand with one another and with those that aren’t just like you. The reconciliation of the world is at stake. We remember them well today, not just with words, but with the actions that will make our church, our neighborhoods and our world a better place to live.

I hope and pray that God’s will be done in all our lives and in our nation. I hope and pray that we can come together as a nation even in the midst of our divided and raucous campaign. Finally, I hope and pray that each of us might answer faithfully the call of God when our turn to participate in the mission of God comes. Like Jonah, we might not be happy about it in the end… But like Jonah, may God’s will be done anyway."


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