The Book of Jonah: “God works with real people”
Readings: Jonah 1:1-6, 11-16; 2:1-9 and Mark 4:21-32
Our Ordinary Time readings through the Minor Prophets now ventures into the story of Jonah. We cover Jonah 1-2 this week. Consider taking the entirety of the chapters to heart. Jonah’s story is so familiar and we may be prone to imagine a child’s “flannel -graph” Sunday-school lesson. However, place the Scripture before you and pray to hear it afresh, as if for the first time. Ask the Holy Spirit to impress upon your heart what you need hear and grace to respond.
- In Jonah 1-2, identify God’s invitation to Jonah regarding a commission. What discoveries do you see in this about God: his nature, his intentions for humanity? Observe Jonah’s reaction to God’s invitation. What do you discover about Jonah? Put yourself in Jonah’s shoes. Have you ever been invited to collaborate with God on a redemptive project that wasn’t easy or was distasteful to you? How did you react? What encourages you about the way God works with real people who have real short-comings? Reflect on these things with God.
- Take moments to quiet your mind and heart as you read the sacred ground around Jonah in the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:1-9). You’ve entered into a personal prayer conversation between Jonah and God. What might have been God’s intention to include the prayer in the ancient record for all ages and all peoples to read? What wisdom or help do you hear from Jonah that you’d like to take to hear for yourself? The ground around your feet, right now, could be sacred if opened to God in prayer. In these quiet moments, unveil your heart, your life with God – go with God to the depths: What troubles you? In what ways do you find yourself running from God or resisting his invitations to serve others? How do you find yourself responding to God’s grace and gifts?
- Jesus invites us to listen and learn from his parables about the Kingdom of God in Mark 4:21-32. What do you hear? How do the parables expand your imagination for the work of God on earth? As our tag-line for this week in Jonah states: God works with real people; what invitations do you hear for yourself? How might you creatively respond and actively cooperate with what God might be calling you to do in the sphere of your own life and workplace?
- How does prayer, fueled by the Scriptures, resurrect holy desire or a willingness to participate in God’s Kingdom work? What’s emerging from the depths of your heart, your will to follow Christ into the world?