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March 09, 2022

Jonah 3:1-10

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 

Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. 

The Wisdom to Go Against the Norm

“The people of Nineveh believed God.”  

I want to know how this happened. I mean, the first time we learn of Jonah hearing God’s voice, Jonah ran the other way. So, how is it that the people of an entire “wicked” city (Jonah 1:2) could not only discern the authenticity of God’s message to them upon their first hearing, but that they also responded immediately with a movement towards prayer, fasting, and lament? This is exceedingly curious to me. 

 My prayer and my pondering has led me to wonder if there had been a growing sense of internal disquietude amongst the Ninevites. Perhaps many of them had a sneaking suspicion that, despite the normed cultural milieu that surrounded them, all was not well. Perhaps many of them were primed and ready to return to God, but found it easier in an “exceedingly large city,” to remain unknown… hidden… complicit. I wonder who the first brave soul was who made a change based upon Jonah’s message? Who was the first person to put on sackcloth and to enter into the prayer of fasting? Who had the wisdom to know they needed to create space to welcome God’s greater presence into their life once again? Who was it? Who followed? 

Would it be you? 

Laura Gilmartin Hancock is finishing her formation in the Seminars in Ignatian Formation with the Midwest Province of Jesuits and ministers as a spiritual care provider with Soulcare MKE LLC.

 

Prayer 

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be. 

With God as our Father
We are family
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony. 

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
May this be my solemn vow. 

To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me. 

—Lyrics to “Let There Be Peace on Earth” by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller, ©1955


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March 09, 2022

Jonah 3:1-10

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 

Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. 

The Wisdom to Go Against the Norm

“The people of Nineveh believed God.”  

I want to know how this happened. I mean, the first time we learn of Jonah hearing God’s voice, Jonah ran the other way. So, how is it that the people of an entire “wicked” city (Jonah 1:2) could not only discern the authenticity of God’s message to them upon their first hearing, but that they also responded immediately with a movement towards prayer, fasting, and lament? This is exceedingly curious to me. 

 My prayer and my pondering has led me to wonder if there had been a growing sense of internal disquietude amongst the Ninevites. Perhaps many of them had a sneaking suspicion that, despite the normed cultural milieu that surrounded them, all was not well. Perhaps many of them were primed and ready to return to God, but found it easier in an “exceedingly large city,” to remain unknown… hidden… complicit. I wonder who the first brave soul was who made a change based upon Jonah’s message? Who was the first person to put on sackcloth and to enter into the prayer of fasting? Who had the wisdom to know they needed to create space to welcome God’s greater presence into their life once again? Who was it? Who followed? 

Would it be you? 

Laura Gilmartin Hancock is finishing her formation in the Seminars in Ignatian Formation with the Midwest Province of Jesuits and ministers as a spiritual care provider with Soulcare MKE LLC.

 

Prayer 

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be. 

With God as our Father
We are family
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony. 

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
May this be my solemn vow. 

To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me. 

—Lyrics to “Let There Be Peace on Earth” by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller, ©1955


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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