Jonah the Reluctant prophet: The recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London cause us to think about the Emergency Services.
Stephen is an officer in the Tactical Aid Response group and today we all were invited to sign a card thanks to acknowledge those who regularly put their lives on line. He also will receive 2 big boxes of chocolates!
Jonah lived 2800 years ago and we are asking ‘was he a hero?’ He was asked by God to go to Nineveh, the present-day Mosul, to tell that the population that they were wicked. He was reluctant and in fact boarded a ship bound for Spain. A heavy storm broke and Jonah felt that he was responsible because he had not carried out God’s wishes. The sailors drew lots to decide who they thought was responsible, but Jonah told them to throw him overboard. This they did with some reluctance and of course we heard how he was swallowed by a big fish, maybe a whale. After three days, he was ejected. On the second command from God he went to Nineveh.
A team of 6 then did a dramatized reading of the relevant bible passage, ‘throwing’ Ben into the sea! Two teams from Junior Church competed to answer questions on the story and then were invited to make whales from paper plates etc. Readers continued the story.
Nineveh, we were told, was a large city and Jonah commanded the residents to wear sackcloth, fast and pray as Jonah believed they were wicked and needed to change their ways. Was Jonah a hero? No God’s grace is free and was given to the people. It is available to anyone with no conditions, however bad they are.
The youngsters were asked if they would pay to receive a gift, but of course it would then no longer be a gift. They were asked if ever they had said ‘it isn’t fair’ one answer was her brother received all the attention’. Jonah thought it was unfair, that at times he would have been better dead and he sulked.
Photos of our growing sunflowers or failures were shown – perhaps it was unfair that God had not helped some seeds to grow. It was emphasised that it is not about being fair as God loves and values us all. Whereas we may choose to exclude people, with God we are all forgiven and loved.
Kindly written by Dennis Hobson