For a couple of days we enter the wonderfully comic world of Jonah, the unwilling prophet.
I am sure that if you have been following this blog with any degree of attention, you will understand that you aren’t about to find any attempt here to either rubbish the story for its fantastical elements, nor to argue for the authenticity of prophet swallowing whales. If that’s your gig, good luck to you, but frankly life is both too short and also too wonderful for such things.
Jonah is sent to Nineveh, a byword for evil in the Scriptures, and of course runs in the opposite direction, as we all would. Eugene Peterson in his beautiful book, ‘Under the unpredictable plant’ makes the observation that Jonah wants something more glamourous than the hard reality of prophet work in Nineveh. Nineveh is not about how life is meant to work out – Tarshish is. But it is Nineveh that God is to be found at work – he is not called to the healthy. God is at work in places of absence, not abundance. And the prophet is the symbol of that, so go to Nineveh Jonah must!