Our congregation observes the traditional Christian practice of gathering for special Wednesday evening services in Lent. This year’s message series will take us through the book of the prophet Jonah.
Jonah, one of the twelve Minor Prophets, is a book about God’s compassionate work of rescuing sinners – not a book about Jonah or fish. In fact, as Reed Lessing points out in his wonderful commentary on Jonah, there are just 689 words in the book of Jonah – and 39 of them refer to God. In contrast to the frequency of references to God, Lessing reminds us that Jonah’s name appears only 18 times, and the fish – even less. This should not surprise us, as God is the subject of every passage of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation.
Our series will cover the following passages:
Week 1: Jonah 1:1-16 (Mar 13)
Week 2: Jonah 1:17-2:10 (Mar 20)
Week 3: Jonah 3:1-5 (Mar 27)
Week 4: Jonah 3:6-10 (Apr 3)
Week 5: Jonah 4 (Apr 10).
We will gather each Wednesday for supper at 5:30 pm in the downstairs of the church and then go upstairs to the sanctuary for our service - which begins at 6:30 pm. We hope that you can join us!
I want to share with you a fantastic excerpt from Lessing’s introduction:
“It is said that travel broadens the mind. The narrative of Jonah takes the unwilling prophet southwest to Joppa, northwest toward Tarshish, down into the belly of the fish, farther down into Sheol, eastward toward the great city of Nineveh, and then finally east of the city under a miraculous plant. This is a gasp-and-gulp journey, and joining him all the way is Yahweh [personal name of God revealed to Israel], who uses the trip to confront the uneven roads, unwanted rocks, and winding valleys of Jonah’s heart. The extent to which Jonah is changed by his travel remains uncertain—indeed, the narrative itself subtly ends with the notion that the journey is not yet over, for Jonah or for us! The adventure still awaits readers who recognize in Jonah a large part of themselves." (R. Reed Lessing, Jonah, Concordia Commentary (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 2007), xv.).