Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 18th August 2019
Another early service for me. We are meeting for worship at 10 am rather than two services at 9 and 10.45 during August. This time it was contemporary worship, and I was drumming.
It was mentioned in the sermon that God works despite us, but earlier in the service we demonstrated this in the music. I could not hear the acoustic guitar in my monitors once the congregation started singing, the opening worship was still OK. I think we got away with it.
The sermon was the third chapter of Jonah, last week we finished when Jonah had been vomited onto the beach by the fish and it was this point when we resumed with this gruesome image.
Have you ever seen a snake eat a rat? First it crushes the life out of its prey, then it dislocates its jaw and swallows the creature whole, a lump which moves down the snake’s body. Bev, out Lay Reader who was giving the sermon had seen, and was fascinated by this as a young teenager. The difference was that the snake did not take to the rat this time, so the rat was disgorged, all horrible and slimy. Jonah, on being thrown up onto the beach would have looked a horrible slimy sight, and would hand smelt even worse. Nineveh would not be impressed at the sight and stench of Jonah.
God is more concerned with the workers than the work. If the workers are what they are supposed to be then the work will be what it is supposed to be. Are we more concerned with God’s work than his people. God was with Jonah despite his disobedience. God does not desert us when we disobey. No matter what we’ve done there’s a way back repentance and forgiveness.
Nineveh was a enormous city with a reputation for violence. Piles of bones could be seen outside the city, left by the violent men that lived there. It was also very large. Jonah had walked for a day into the city and was still not at the centre. Jonah preached that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days and the people listened to God. Not to Jonah, to God. Everybody, hundreds of thousand of people, repented.
God acts in power when we act in obedience. God provides a way back no matter how badly we have messed up. God is waiting to forgive when we turn to him in repentance.