1But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the LORD and said, "O LORD! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4And the LORD said, "Is it right for you to be angry?" 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city. ~ Jonah 4:1-5
Oh, Jonah. Don't I know you well! The self-righteous gal who can't see beyond her own inconvenience and suffering. The chick who is annoyed to death that the Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Man!
I particularly love the part of this story that is about Jonah camped on the outskirts of Nineveh "waiting to see what would become of the city"-- clearly hoping he'll get to see a good display of fire and brimstone for his trouble.
I am working on anger and hurt these days. In fact I may just go ahead and assign that as my theme for this Lenten season. I have a backlog, all piled up in the name of my being a good girl and wanting to make nice. To not entirely beat myself up about this, I do believe that forgiveness is good and desirable-- both in obedience to the commands of Christ and in the totally self-serving sense that it's good for me to be forgiving... I'll suffer less if I can let go of anger and resentment. But my habit has been to leave the toxic stuff unprocessed. I would never have the nerve to be Jonah. He so lives into his nasty, I'm in awe.
This is the beginning of what I hope will be my Lenten discipline this year: to blog on the daily lectionary readings, in hopes that I will find connections with my life and my own Lenten journey.
Yesterday a colleague shared that she planned to say this when imposing the ashes: "Remember that you are dust, and beloved child of God's splendor and glory." Amen to that.