Given By Rev. Madison Shockley January 21, 2018

Repentance has been thoroughly explored throughout history.  This Greek word simply means to change direction. The story of Jonah and the whale is one of the most familiar in the Bible. It is not about a whale though. It is the context of the story that is the true message. Nineveh was the capital of the Syrian Empire that enslaved the Israelites.  Jonah was upset that God asks him to try to save them. God changes his mind when he sees the Ninevites are truly repentant.  Even the worst enemy deserves a chance at forgiveness.  God loves them for he is a God of love and mercy. Even the king, the most powerful person in the land, hears Jonah’s sermon and regrets his actions of tearing apart families and the mistreatment of the Israelites. This is what often holds us back. To acknowledge our wrongs is difficult. Being humble takes strength. Yet the victim often has suffered more. We have seen this in the Me Too movement. Jonah’s story has another lesson. Like Jonah, we also carry the responsibility to carry God’s word to others. We must preach the truth to power. Today, we preach to those we disagree with the most. This weekend, around the world,hundreds of thousands marched to send a message. We told them how we feel about what they are doing to us and our country. We ask that they go in a new direction. Repent!