Get up. Go. And, Proclaim. | A Reflection on Jonah
A Reflection on Jonah 3 that I wrote for a Homiletics class.
The Word came and said: Get up, Go and Proclaim. So, Jonah set out and went. Jonah went in and cried out God’s message. The people believed. They proclaimed. Everyone put on sack-cloth.
The news reached the King; he rose, removed, covered and sat. Then he proclaimed. They shall not. They shall not. They shall not. They shall be covered with sack-cloth and cry mightily to God. All turn. God may change. God may turn. We may not perish. God saw them turn. God changed. They did not perish.
Immediacy. The third chapter of Jonah is a study in immediacy. The immediacy of the Word. The immediacy of God’s demand. The immediacy of Jonah’s response. The immediacy of the people’s turn. The immediacy of the prophetic.
The Book of Jonah is the Book of a Prophet. And, a prophet is necessarily a realist of distances. Flannery O’Connor reports that prophecy is a matter of seeing near things with their extensions of meaning and thus of seeing far things close up. O’Connor, a writer of the Southern Gothic persuasion, believed fiercely that to write anything of importance one was forced from all sides to make her gaze extend beyond the surface, beyond mere problems, until it touches that realm which is the concern of prophets. The realm of the immediate. The realm of the unmediated.
Immediacy is more than instant. Is more than a quickness. Immediacy involves a directness. Immediacy is action in primary form. In the case of the prophetic, immediacy is faith as verb.
Put away what you think you know about Jonah. Put away what you think you know about Nineavah. Put away what you think you know about God.
See it here in action. Live it immediately. Feel it strike you with wonder. Feel its hurried pace. It’s unexplained, unmediated action. Let it reverberate somewhere deep. Let it draw close what often feels very far away.
Put away what you think you know about yourself. Put away what you think you know about your adversary. Put away what you think you know about God. And Get up. Go. And, proclaim. Leave no time for but. Leave no room for worry. Leave no room for questions. Get up. And, go.
•Image is Jonah and the Whale (1621) by Pieter Lastman.