Pathways through Lent

Doing Well

Psalm 94:2-15 Sirach 34:14-19
Romans 14:10-13 Luke 14:15-24

During the first week of Lent, we often read the story of Jonah. Our
imaginations are often captured by the tale of a man who lived after being
swallowed by a whale. But it’s easy to miss some of the deeper themes of the
story.
After Jonah is punished in a very fishy way for trying to dodge his
responsibility to God, he journeys to Nineveh and announces that it will be
overthrown. In response, the community repents—ashes, sackcloth, and all—
and God shows mercy on Nineveh.
But Jonah, like the older brother in the Prodigal Son parable, is ticked. He had
to be swallowed by a whale for his disobedience, but Nineveh got off scot-free.
Jonah stomps off in a huff, and God responds to him by saying, “Do you do
well to be angry?”
It’s a question often overlooked in the story, but it’s as important for us as it
was for Jonah. Do we do well to be angry when God shows mercy to those
we deem unworthy—especially when in our hearts we know that we have so
recently erred or run from responsibility?
In this time of Lent, let us try to be honest with ourselves when we have
dodged our responsibility to God. And then let us humbly accept God’s love
and mercy for all the unworthy—including ourselves.

–Kathryn Pharr

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