Summary: Description – The third message in the 2010 Lenten series and communion meditation for March 7, 2010

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Today I begin with a confession. (Sorry, nothing juicy.)

Last week I gave you this set of questions to prepare for today’s sermon.

(Slide 1)

1. How do times of distress affect my prayer life?

2. How fervent am I in prayer when life is going well?

3. How does distress re-orient my thinking toward God?

4. Is the power of prayer found in my sincerity, my persistence, or God’s grace?

(Source: Dr. Reed Lessing. © 2010 by Creative Communications for the Parish.)

Well… it was the wrong set of questions!

(Slide 2) Here is the correct set for today.

1. How is the power of God’s word exhibited in the action of the fish?

2. Why does God stick with Jonah?

3. From your knowledge of the entire book, can you recall the three other times when God provides for Jonah?

4. What do God’s provisions for this prodigal prophet tell you?

(Source: Dr. Reed Lessing. © 2010 by Creative Communications for the Parish. www. )

(Slide 2a) Out of those four questions, these two caught my attention

2. Why does God stick with Jonah?

4. What do God’s provisions for this prodigal prophet tell you?

Now I am going to outline some responses to these two questions for a few moments as we prepare for communion and I begin with this first question, “Why does God stick with Jonah?”

We read in Proverbs 18:24, “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (NLT)

How many here can recall a childhood friend that, either verbally or just by that inner sense between close friends, vowed that you would be friends forever?

For how many of us is that person still a part of our lives today?

When I was in seminary, I heard an illustration that has stuck with me over the years. It began with a question, “Whose holding your trampoline?”

The image there is of a group a people stationed around the sides of the trampoline to keep you from falling off.

The purpose of the question was to have you think about your support network and it went like this: (my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details)

Suppose you ended up in the emergency room or a crisis situation. What 8 to 10 people would you want there with you or you would want to know of your situation?

Write them down. Family included.

(For some of us extroverts, the hospital or wherever we were, would probably not be big enough to hold everybody. For some of us introverts, two may be two, too many!)

Let me ask it this way, which friend or friends would you want at your side in a crisis?

Well do I remember when two members of a church that I had served showed up at my dad’s funeral. It was a six hour drive one way and was totally unexpected.

One of the things that I pray for people who are about to receive visitors at a funeral home visitation is that they would experience God’s grace in the faces and voices of those who come to pay their respects.

Why should God stick with Jonah after he failed to obey God? Why did he not find another prophet to do His work?

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