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Communion Meditations (2012)

Jonah

Originally scheduled for March 18

Sometimes we have a strange way of looking at the mercy of God.

Consider Jonah. By the time he's done with Nineveh his lament to God is quite clear:

·         First, he has worked extremely hard in preaching repentance to the city. He told him that doom and disaster were in the works and they had better repent.

·         They did.

·         God forgave them, and did not bring upon them the disaster the Jonah had promised.

·         Jonah said, "I knew God was going to do that. Now I look like an idiot."

Sometimes we think that way. We're like the old philosopher who was sure God would forgive him because, after all, it's his hobby. We forget that God's mercy and forgiveness are not cheap; they were bought with a price.

Another common mistake is to assume that God forgets about our sins like we do. We like to think, "we've moved on." If we stall long enough, God will forget the problem.

We've forgotten: God's mercy is not cheap. It's price was the cross of Christ. The price of the justice of God is high; Jesus paid that price. God is eternal; he does not forget. But the fact that he is eternal cuts both ways; it also means he foresaw the cross as the price of loving his creation, mankind.

They must therefore not take God's mercy for granted, as a trivial thing. Nor can we take his forgiveness to be an automatic thing if we just wait long enough. He reminds us of the price each time we partake of communion. As we do, we remember that the perfect man, the sinless one, was sacrificed for our sins. He died that we might live. That sacrifice is effective no matter how old the sin. God knows we don't want to bring up old sins; we'd rather just forget about it. That's why he gave us something to jog our memory — not so much about our sins, but about his salvation.

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