RHYTHM: Slapping Jesus – Jonah 4

Lectionary for youth ministry Jonah 4Monday before Proper 5: Jonah 4:1-11

Reading: Jonah 4:1-11

Slapping Jesus

A lot of Christians seem like they’d be pretty upset if grace actually turns out to be for everyone.

It’s a bad attitude, but it’s pretty rampant. Have any friends on Facebook that point to the ugliness in our world and declare things like, “that’s what hell is for”? I do. It makes me feel a little sick when I see it. Aren’t we supposed to be the light in the world? Aren’t we supposed to be the ones that give people a chance when everyone else has given up on them, rather than being the first to throw them under the bus when they mess up?

I get that there’s a lot of ugliness in the world. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be horrified by it. I just mean that I don’t think we should go as far as feeling like we’re entitled to the punishment of others. We’re stumbling into some dangerous territory when we do that – we’re starting to act like we’ve somehow earned grace, that we own it rightfully, without duty to bring it to others. I realized this most starkly one day in my Facebook feed, unfortunately from someone that had come through my youth ministry. Some guy in the news had done something awful; she called out on Facebook for him to receive the death penalty (even though it wasn’t a capital crime) and went on to lament that “now he’s gonna be fed, clothed, and sheltered for the rest of his life.” Well, just slap Jesus three times. Who, if not this man, is the least of these?

For reflection:

Are you able to view even criminals with God’s grace? Obviously we wish grace all the more on the victims of crime, but are we meant to turn our backs on the broken people who commit them?

It’s not an easy question. Here’s a slower pitch: when have you had grace extended to you beyond what you felt you deserved?


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