We all remember that Jonah ran away from God and was swallowed by a whale. But do you know what God wanted Jonah to do? And what happened when he did it?
The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you. "
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD 's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day 's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, "
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
Many modern-day Jonahs are telling us that if we do not repent of our evil ways, our heedlessness about global warming and depleted uranium, for instance,- we will be destroyed. We may be on the verge of a nuclear armageddon over Iran. A major writer has just written a book saying we are past the point of no return on global warming.
Are we heeding these warnings? Are we willing to repent of our evil ways- our love of material things, our passivity in the face of tyranny, our willingness to hate groups and religions different from ours, our tolerance of a war president and economy?
Americans have much repenting to do. We could start with our denial that this country is built on genocide- the slaughter of Native Americans, stealing of their land, and the deliberate policies aimed at destroying their cultures. It still goes on- the money that Jack Abramoff used to bribe all those politicians was conned from Indian gaming tribes.
Many Native American leaders today, from many tribes, are working for world peace. They have much to teach mainstream America about respecting the earth and taking the long view, caring for future generations. We need to repent of our sense of superiority, that prevents us from learning from other cultures, and allows us to persecute them without conscience.
We the people need to repent of our laziness and cowardice that has allowed us to sell our most precious birthright, our freedom. As citizens of a nation in which we hold ultimate authority, we have the right to determine our own destiny. We have abandoned this birthright to hijackers who promise us "security", keep the price of gasoline low, and entertain us endlessly with their "spinning" of the news.
We need to repent of our irresponsibility toward our children and grandchildren.
Perhaps if we repent, we will not be destroyed.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman