Stirrings of the Spirit

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The Book of Jonah



Jonah is one of the minor prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.  It narrates the story of the adventures of Jonah who tried to disobey God’s command.  Jonah did not want to follow God’s command that sent him to Nineveh.  After a series of dramatic events, like being eaten by a giant fish, Jonah reluctantly obeys.  Jonah goes to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, Israel’s deadly enemy, and preaches that God is aware of their wicked ways (Jonah 1:2) and that in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed (Jonah 3:4).  This led to the people repenting, changing their ways, fasting and wearing sack cloth as penance.  God showed them mercy, and did not destroy them, which leaves Jonah feeling angry.  Jonah goes to sit on the outskirts of town to see if God does destroy the city and God makes a plant grow over him for shade.  The next day, a worm attacks the plant and it dies which upsets Jonah.  God uses this as an example of the love he feels for the people of Nineveh.  “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

The book of Jonah is somewhat familiar to me, due to him being swallowed by a ‘whale’ but I never really explored it in much depth before, and upon reading it, discovered many layers to it.  Ultimately, it portrays God as loving and merciful who would rather forgive and save people, rather than punish and destroy them.  It shows the unconditional love and guidance that God gives us, no matter how far away we wander from His will.  We never know what our own role will be in leading others towards God.  Like Jonah’s message helping turn the people of Ninevah back to him, our own actions can inspire the people in our lives to make a change for the better.  Also, the Book of Jonah is a reminder that God is always providing us with opportunities to turn back to him, no matter how many times we turn away from him.  Jonah tries to run, but God never gives up on him, or any of us.

The book of Jonah contains many important lessons that can serve as timely reminders of God’s love and mercy for each of us.

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August 24, 2010 Posted by | Scripture | , , , | 1 Comment

Being a part of the Body of Christ

Recently Anne Rice declared on her Facebook and twitter that she had decided to ‘quit being a Christian’.  She went on to say It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group

I find it very sad  that is has come to this. My experience with Christianity and Christians in general has been a rather positive one, but I know that is not the same for all people. 

At the same time as announcing leaving Christianity, she has also said that she remains committed to Christ.  But is it really possible to be committed to Christ while not being  a part of Christianity.  Christianity isn’t just another group or a club or an organization.  You can’t withdraw from its membership while still believing in its ideals.  Being a Christian, and being committed to Jesus, means being a part of his mystical body.  This is shown in scripture when he addresses Saul on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians.  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  Jesus does not separate himself from his people.   Its also highlighted in Matthew 25:40 with ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Jesus connects himself with all of us, and as a result, we are all connected to Jesus.  Its more than a club, it’s a living organism that continues to grow and evolve.  This is the body of Christ.  Is giving up on the Body of Christ really showing commitment to Jesus? 

In the name of God, many people have committed many harmful actions, or made harmful statements.  But God became flesh and lived with similar people who continue to cause us frustration.  Each of us, in our imperfection, contributes something to the Body of Christ and through each other Jesus reveals a little more of his own perfection. 

I will be praying that Anne Rice, and other people who feel the same, find the healing they need and can be welcomed back home to Christ

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Faith, Scripture, Spirituality | , , | 2 Comments

My favourite scriptures

I’m studying a Certificate III in Theology which has been very interesting.  Below is the brief overview of my oral presentation for my latest module about my favourite books or parts of scripture

Tobit is a book of the Bible in the Hebrew scripture that other denominations may include in their apocrypha, but Catholics still include as part of their bible.  Whatever denomination you are, I think its still worth a read. 

Tobit tells the story of a righteous Israelite named Tobit. One night, while sleeping outside, he is blinded by bird droppings that have fallen in his eyes, and due to the strain this causes in his life and marriage, he wishes for death. Most of the book tells the story of Tobit’s son, Tobiah, who has been sent to collect some money that had been deposited in Media. On this journey, Tobiah meets the angel Raphael, disguised as a human, who aids and protects him on the way. On arriving in Media, Tobiah hears of Sarah. She has lost seven husbands to a demon, who kills her husbands on their wedding nights. Tobiah’s journey to media included being attacked by a fish, which they kill and keep the heart, liver and gall bladder. Using these, Tobiah is able to drive away the demon, and on returning home, cure his father’s blindness. This book of the bible is one of my favourites, as it shows the path that life can lead, and how God is always providing for us in such extraordinary ways. Being attacked by a fish, results in him curing his father and freeing his future wife. Tobiah is also accompanied by the Angel Raphael throughout the journey providing him with protection and guidance. In the same way, God provides us with people to accompany us on our own journeys, and we will encounter events that later provide us with the resources to achieve something good. In the New Testament, one of my favourite passages is John 8:1-11, which is about Pharisees who bring the woman charged with adultery to Jesus, and he says “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” This is a reminder of the mercy of Christ, who is always willing to forgive our sins without condemnation. It also tells us to not condemn others, due to the sin in our own lives.

June 11, 2010 Posted by | Scripture | , , , , , | 2 Comments