Prophets were notoriously humorless characters. You would never want Jeremiah, Obadiah, or Ezekiel at a party. But I have invited Jonah into our Sunday worship in July. Maybe it would be easier to swallow his message with some alleged humor, offered in the following story.
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, couldn’t keep from sticking her nose in other people's business. Most members did not approve of her vigilante activities but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an irresponsible drunk after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only tavern one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone who saw it there knew full well what he was doing.
Frank, a man of few words, merely listened, looked Mildred in the eye, turned and walked away.
He didn't explain, defend, or deny.
Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house... Walked home... And left it there all night.
In the person of Jonah the writer holds up a mirror in front of us and asks, “Do you by chance recognize yourself?”
Come and meet Jonah. Come and see yourself in this recalcitrant prophet. Come and explore God’s relationship with you in this twisting story. And, come and see God’s relentless compassion --- “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.