Three Words…Or Five?
Chances are when you hear the name “Jonah” you mentally and immediately add three words behind it: “and the whale.” In our minds Jonah is paired with the whale in the same way that peanut butter is paired with jelly, peas with carrots, Batman with Robin, Romeo with Juliet….you get the idea.
The problem, however, is in those three words – “and the whale.” It has become, for us, the primary point of the story. Jonah gets swallowed by the whale. How does that happen? How does he survive three days in there? How bad was his singing that the whale vomited him out? These are the kinds of questions that distract from the main point of the book.
The point of the book is actually found in five other words: “the word of the Lord.” As in “the word of the Lord came to Jonah.” God speaks to Jonah with task, with commission, with call. Jonah, not wishing to do what God calls him to do, tries to run. What Jonah fails to remember is that you can’t outrun God. Cue the whale (big fish actually).
This Sunday, we’re headed down to the sea to re-read the story of Jonah and reflect not on three words but on five. We’ll consider that “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” and we’ll talk about the ways that all of us occasionally are Jonah. The good news will be (spoiler alert) that God has a relentlessly long reach.
See you Sunday down at the beach. Until then, I offer you these three words:
Grace and peace.