Readings: Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32
"When Jonah preached they repented." (Luke 11:32)
The English broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough is probably most famous for his TV programmes on the natural world. But his words are also often prophetic. He warns humanity that if people don't change their ways and become ecologically more responsible then the earth will suffer. There will be catastrophic events and many of the peoples of the world will suffer from rising sea levels, hunger and drought.
Jesus challenges his own Jewish generation. He has exorcised devils but the leaders cry out for more sensational signs. He tells them that the only sign he will give is that of Jonah, a reluctant prophet who preached judgement to his enemies, the Ninevites. He did not really want them to repent and be saved but amazingly the whole people did change their attitudes and God relented. Jesus claims he is a greater prophet than Jonah. Will his own people repent as that Gentile nation did?
Judgement is not popular today. Yet we can often see in issues like global warming that a warning judgement is necessary to avoid disaster. The Church calls us to examine our lives in Lent and to hear the prophetic words of Jesus calling us to change the attitudes that cause harm in our family and community lives. Will we be willing to repent and change the ingrained habits that cause us to turn away from God and from our neighbours?
Lord Jesus, you often criticised the religious leaders of your time for their blindness and hypocrisy. We pray that you will shed your light upon us, so we can see what needs to be changed in our lives; and then give us the courage to repent. Amen.
St. Andrew's Methodist Church
The Stow, Harlow