July 27, 2015

Read Jonah 4

It was before the days of Castro, of course, but the Cuban government invited my high school band, in Miami, Florida, to Cuba every year to celebrate their “Day of Independence.  Our band was put on a Cuban Navy vessel in Key West to journey the 101 miles to Havana.  Soon after leaving the safety of our shores, we found ourselves in the middle of a terrible tropical storm.  Almost all of the band and most of the crew became deathly sea sick. I was one of the fortunate ones, and remember, like the proverbial “chaplain” of the ship, going around trying to console those who were so terribly sick.  

I never read the book of Jonah that I do not remember that horrifying experience.

As we come to the closing chapter of Jonah, it is easy to come to the conclusion that perhaps the book of Jonah is more than about God’s undying love and grace toward  the people of Ninevah, or even about Jonah’s terrible attitude. It is pointing directly at us, and the lesson’s God is trying to teach us - to take a look at our own self-righteous behavior.

Perhaps that is why the book ends abruptly, like we are to fill in the blanks.

Like Jonah, sometimes we are so bent on preaching judgment on others that we fail to follow the compassion of our Lord. What a beautiful example of God’s grace we see here!  And isn’t it wonderful to note that our Lord, because of his undying love for us, sometimes changes His mind?