Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Lent: Celebration of Redemption
“And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”(Jonah 4:11)
Today is the 3rd day of Lent of Nineveh, which is also known as the Lent of Jonah. Churches having Eastern Tradition observe 3-Day Lent, 3 week before the Great Lent. It is believed that the origin of this lent is associated with a miraculous cessation of plague which broke out in the region of Beth Garmai, in Northern Iraq. 3-Day Lent is a preparation for Great Lent. Jesus said: “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.”(Matthew 12:40). Each Lent is a celebration of redemption through Jesus Christ.
God redeems persons and communities
Book of Jonah is a story of redemption, not only of the people of Nineveh but also of the prophet Jonah. God has many ways to redeem Nineveh. But He selects Jonah for it. When the prophet becomes rebellious, God opens various ways to redeem him. God redeems Jonah from the way to Tarshish, from the belly of the fish and from disastrous anger. As Jonah testifies: He is “gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.” His redemption is not at all limited to the community of faithful. He has an equal concern to people outside the faith community and to other creatures. This passage has a great resemblance with the parable of Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32). When we’re boasting of our faith tradition and godliness, we need to think God is the Father all. And He is a merciful Father. Jesus says: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” (John 10:16)
Nature is instrumental in God’s redemption
Nature becomes an instrument in God’s hand for redemption. God uses the ocean, big fish, plant, worm, sun and the scorching east wind for correcting and redeeming Jonah. Jesus uses nature in various wonders and signs in order to show His compassionate love which culminates in redemption through His death and resurrection. Paul says: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”(Romans 8:19). Human beings and the nature are interconnected. And so God uses one interchangeably for the redemption of other. Even today signs are revealed through nature –sometimes we may call them natural calamities- against the sin, rebellion and greed of humanity. We need to be transformed and get redeemed through such messages of God.
Prayer: O God, You are the Father of all. Help us to understand the deepness of your compassion and greatness of your redemption through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thought for the Day: God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours.
Rev. Joe John, St James MTC NY.