Hearing with New Ears
Scripture Reading: Jonah 3:1-6, 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. –Jonah 3:1-6
In the cacophony of prophets, good and bad, speaking today, how do we discern the will of God? I do not think that the people heard God by either Jonah’s eloquence or even rightness. They heard the will of God that Jonah did speak because the Spirit stirred their hearts and their minds to listen with new ears.
The media is all over a story about the President using foul language to describe people he believes are not worthy of migrating to our country. While we might never use the language, he used, how many of us carry the same bigotry in our beings. Who do we want to come to the USA? Who of us do experience fear when we think about diverse people fully integrating into our society? How many of us can truly say Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free*? Are we more apt to desire migrants who are the best and the brightest and even the whitest? Do we truly believe that God created the earth and all that is in it and that God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them? (Genesis 1:27) Whether you believe creation happened in seven days or millions of years, the truth of God’s image being the source of humanity rings true. When we think we are better than any of God’s children, we think we are better than God. Blasphemy separates us from God. Once our hearts are set right with God, we can discern the true prophets of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.** Amen.
*Taken from The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus part of which is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty
**First verse of Dear Lord and Father of Mankind by John Greenleaf Whittier, see at https://hymnary.org/text/dear_lord_and_father_of_mankind
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.