The Book of Jonah is one that captures the way that we, in our humanity, think. We are often tempted to run away from God because we are upset, or disagree with what the Lord has decided to do, or we are afraid to follow through with His commands. In the weakness of his humanity, Jonah, who is given the command to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for evil has come up before me,” chooses to run in the opposite direction to a harbour in Joppa in an effort to escape a confrontation with God and the people of Nineveh.
It is through our Lord’s patience that He would command Jonah to confront the city of Nineveh yet a second time after he is spat out of the fish. When God saw how the people of Nineveh responded to the ministry of Jonah with the fasting of food and water, the wearing of sackcloth, and ceasing to do what was evil in His eyes, He felt pity for Nineveh and relented from the disaster He was going to deliver. The story continues, following an upset and sulking Jonah who sits beneath a tree that God has appointed to shade Jonah from the sun. You see, Jonah does not think that Nineveh is entitled to simply avoid the wrath of God and walk away with no retribution for their past evils. The next day, a worm is appointed by God to attack the tree, withering it. This angers Jonah to the point that he proclaims that he is angry enough to die. So, God responds, asking Jonah, that since he pities a tree that he did not cultivate, should not He, who is God, pity the city of Nineveh: housing over 120,000 members of His creation made to be His image-bearers, and many cattle?
Therefore, even past Easter, we are reminded and encouraged to not fear and run away the responsibilities of being a Christian, but rather to embrace it and to find joy with sharing the wonders of The Trinitarian God with the rest of Creation. We are also appointed by God to be those that are compassionate: those whom seek to save rather than discard or destroy. Let us then, be prayerful, supporting of one another, lifting our neighbours up in their times of need, and rejoicing with them in their triumphs. So with this, I pray that we may continue striving to do what is good in God’s eyes.