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Time for change

Time for change

Something to read

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you’… And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth… When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

- Jonah 3:1-2, 5, 10.

Something to think about

For many theologians, the phrase ‘God changed his mind’ is one of the most startling phrases of the Old Testament. But it’s surprisingly common. We see it here in the story of Jonah, when the ruthlessly violent Ninevites heed God’s call to repent and his warning of their destruction. In Amos 3, we see God’s relenting from coming calamities at the intercession of Amos. Similarly in Exodus, it’s the plea of Moses reminding God of his promises to the patriarchs, that causes him to change his mind about disaster.

With a clear pattern in Scripture, it seems this is not a one-off exception to God’s usual way of operating, but rather a deliberate and considered manner of engaging with the world. Jonah, Amos and Moses are all prophets, people who seek to see clearly what’s going on in the world around them, and hear clearly what God is saying.

Speaking passionately with both people and God, prophets help others to come to God with humility and honesty about the stuff they’re getting wrong, and in doing so, to experience change and transformation. Change is part of how God works, because change is what God works in us.

Something to do

If you’re not already part of a Lent group, ask a few friends to join you in looking at Christian Aid’s ‘Talking Climate Justice’ discussion resource over the coming five weeks. The guide will help you journey through Lenten themes, beginning with repentance.

Something to pray

God our rock, thank you that your character is the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank you that you are also the God of second-chances and transformation. Help me to lay myself honestly before you this Lent, and to hear your call to repentance and change. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones