September 16, 2014

Dear Lakeshore,

I trust that everyone is planning to join us this Sunday for Homecoming Sunday. I look forward to many elements of the day, particularly the return of the Voices of Lakeshore and the post-worship luncheon. Thank you to the Ladies Night Out Group for coordinating the luncheon.

The central scripture in our worship will be Jonah 3:10-4;11. In this marvelous narrative  the reluctant prophet Jonah, fresh from three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, goes to the city of Nineveh and proclaims God’s message of repentance, forgiveness and restoration. The city, seemingly even the livestock, responds to Jonah’s message with humility and contrition, all fast and all put on sackcloth and ashes.

This response infuriates Jonah. He is angry with God for being forgiving. He is angry with the people for receiving God’s forgiveness. He is angry with himself for having played a role in this pageant of hope. His words are, “O LORD! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.”

Jonah stands a representative of humanity. Sometimes we wish God were more like us, less forgiving and more vindictive, less merciful and more judgmental. Indeed, there are moments when our prayer might be “God, I wish you were more like me.”