Jonah wasn’t just unfaithful because he tried to run from God, he was unfaithful because he didn’t want the Ninevites to experience God’s grace. Too often we also try to withhold God’s grace from those we consider outcast, sinful, or foreign. Yet, God does not withhold grace from anyone, much to our displeasure.
In an odd twist of humanity, we enjoy watching as other people fail. Perhaps this is why we focus on Peter’s sinking into the water. But we should not be so quick to watch his demise; he did after all walk on water. There’s a lot to be learned from Peter’s brief experience defying gravity, and we might be the more faithful for focusing on his success than his failure.
Too often, we try to claim that if one is to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God, they must act, think, feel, look, and be like us. Yet, God’s will claims our limited knowledge is just that, limited. To be faithful to God’s will, we must be resilient in our humility, to acknowledge that God is definitive for justice, and that we must humble ourselves to receive God’s will as truth.
The natural response to naming one’s brokenness is grief. We mourn our inability to sustain and give ourselves life – both individually and corporately. But this is life giving. As Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn.”
Admittedly, our national climate is one that leaves much to be desired. We have lost all attempts at civility with one another. But God calls us to be better in community. Christ offers the necessary traits for such a change in the Sermon on the Mount.