September 14, 2011
Angry? Yep... angry enough to die!
The end of the Jonah story is tragic. You can watch the VeggieTales interpretation, one I've seen too many times to count, on youtube. The story closes with a question mark, and not just because it ends with a question from God. It ends with a giant question mark because we never hear Jonah's response. We never hear Jonah's response, I think, because he's too angry to speak. God asks him, after the Unpredictable Plant dies and Jonah gets miffed about it, "Is it right for you to be angry?" Jonah's response is emphatic, "Yes! Angry enough to die!" Sometimes, God's grace is like that. The story is usually about the serial rapist/murderer/child abuser sitting on death row who is converted by the prison chaplain, and as they come to the end of their days, they are at peace because they know they will be with Jesus and the thief who repented in paradise. It offends us. It makes us uncomfortable. It just doesn't sit right. For some people, it makes them angry enough to die. Or at least angry enough to leave the church. As it is with the story of the generous landowner, God's grace is offensive to those of us who keep worldly score. The undeserving always get God's grace. Of course, we forget that we too are undeserving. It is just that our sins are paltry compared to that other guy. Our failings don't hurt anybody... right? For some people, the extravagance of God's grace is just too much to bear, too offensive to be plausible, too big to be accepted, and that is a real shame. As soon as I narrow down God's grace, I'm afraid the first one falling outside of it is me. I'll end today's post in the same way Jonah ends, with a question mark. Should God not be concerned with those who still need his grace?