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Summary: Second sermon in the 2010 Lenten Series

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(Slide 1) This past summer the family went to Universal Studios in Orlando. One part of Universal is the more traditional rollercoaster type theme park that features Dr Seuss, the Incredible Hulk, and the like.

The other part of the park features a take on the Hollywood aspect of Universal pictures. Its themed rides include JAWS (which we rode many times), Men In Black, and…

…Twister, the action movie featuring storm chasers in the heart of our country.

The main part of the attraction is the replication of the set when a large tornado hits a small town on the plains. It was very, very well done.

In fact, it was so well done, that I started to get very uncomfortable…very uncomfortable. I wanted to run and hide because it brought back memories of the April 1974 tornado (believed to be an F 5) that hit Xenia, Ohio, about 40 miles from where I lived at the time.

I wonder if Jonah might have felt the same way about storms whenever one popped up after his “close encounter of the fishy kind?”

As we continue our 2010 Lenten series that takes us to the Old Testament prophet Jonah, we move to chapter 1 and verses 4 through 16.

(Slide 2) Now before I read it here are the questions that I shared last week in preparation for this week:

1. Even when God, in his grace, has sought me, how have I dug in my heels, refusing to hearken to him?

2. How has my acting in such a fashion caused trouble for others?

3. How was Jonah’s sacrifice similar to, as well as different from, that of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?

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

Let us hear the word of God this morning,

“But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will have mercy on us and spare our lives.”

Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, Jonah lost the toss. “What have you done to bring this awful storm down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”

And Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” Then he told them that he was running away from the Lord.

The sailors were terrified when they heard this. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”

“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. For I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”

Instead, the sailors tried even harder to row the boat ashore. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death, because it isn’t our fault. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”

Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.”

It has over 30 years since the summer I lived with one of my aunts and uncles. It was only about 6 weeks and, for a while, it was one of the longest 6 weeks of my life.

They lived about 2 hours away from my home and because there was work at the factory my aunt worked at, I had a summer job… that I hated… because I got homesick, very homesick.

Now this was after my first year of college when I moved 300 miles, 6 hours, two states, and 1 time zone away from home and never got homesick once. But two hours away within the state of Ohio and in the same time zone near the same Interstate that ran near my home… and I was miserable.

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