The theme for today seemed to be changes. The sermon was taken from Jonah, which is full of them. Jonah decides to change his itinerary from what God wants to what he wants. When he finally did make it to Nineveh, the people he went to warn changed their ways. God, seeing their response, changed His mind and spared them. All of this seems to be the natural progression of things. What is puzzling is Jonah's reaction to God's decision. He is angry that God decided to be merciful to the people and forgive them.
My sister sent me an e-mail this week that dealt with God's ability to change those who trust Him and the frequently harsh response they receive from others who call themselves Christian. I would like to believe that is not true, but I know better.
I have a wonderfully sweet friend who used to live a very different lifestyle. I have seen the difference in how some people treat him once they learn of his past. It is like they cannot believe God can take what he was and transform him into what he is now. In truth, God did no more for him than he did for me. We were both sinners in need of a Savior. We both need God's mercy and forgiveness. God doesn't keep score so my friend's need is no greater than mine. Yet even now there are some friends I do not introduce to him for fear of their reaction once they learn of his past.
This has gotten me thinking it is time for a change on my part. I need to make a radical change in those I call friend. They need to be others who will help me in showing God's love, lifting my spirit, teaching me to follow and worship Him. If we can't do that for each other we are more like acquaintances than friends. This doesn't mean I'll be tossing anyone away, I'll just need to re-evaluate where to invest myself.
The most important thing I have learned in this very unusual year is the need to be a completely integrated being. All that I do relates to my faith and the journey I am on. Every part of me and my life is involved in loving God. This doesn't mean you will now always find me sitting around quoting scripture. It just means I hope to be better at practicing the presence of God in all of my existence.