Sunday, June 24, 2012

Food for Thought

Our pastor has been preaching on the book of Jonah for the past few weeks. The theme is about "saving a city".  Well not really,  but let me explain background.  The motto for our church is "A Community Following Jesus, with a Heart for the City and Beyond".  A few years ago, our church did a revisioning and it was emphasized that we have a unique position in our city. Literally. We have been on the corner of the major downtown center for 125 years. We are near a hospital, various churches, hotels, schools and residential areas.  Our church is comprised of a large diverse group in age, ethnicity, language and life experiences.  So it makes sense that our pastor has begun preaching about a city that God had in his heart.  

The sermons began telling us the story about Jonah.  He is a prophet and is told to go to Ninevah, a large city, notoriously evil, and to preach to the people that they should repent.  But Jonah did not want to go and ran away.

(This is where the term "pulling a Jonah" comes from.  My friends in seminary would talk about how they had "pulled a Jonah" and ran from their calling for so long.  Irony is that some of these friends finally embraced their calling only to die of cancer shortly after finishing their theological training. That is a whole other blog entry though.)

One of the songs that we were singing is written by Chris Tomlin, a Christian singer. 
"I Will Follow"

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow

-- one of the lines in this song says, "where you go I'll go, who you love I'll love"  and we were asked, "Could Jonah say this?  Could WE say this?"  I think a lot of us would likely say no.  There are people that we don't love.  There are people that we likely wonder what God was thinking when he created them... but they are here and we must figure out what to do with them, how to love them as God loves them.  Quite the challenge.  This was last week's challenge. I look forward to more.

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