Monday, April 21
Daily Office: Jonah 2:1-9 ¨ Psalm 93 ¨ Acts 2:14, 22-32 ¨ John 14:1-14
"The waters closed in over me; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains" — Jonah 2:5-6a
I walk this earth with a weedy head. Jonah speaks from the whale describing his distress and his cry to God for help. I speak to God from all my stuck places, admittedly less life-threatening than his, doing the same.
Jonah also sings of deliverance from the belly of the whale. But oddly, both his distress and his deliverance are in the past tense. What’s up with that? Some would say it’s visualization—thinking makes it so. Some would talk about editorial issues. I think about memory. Maybe Jonah believes God will save him because God has saved him before. I don’t know why it’s so easy to forget the times I’ve been really sure God was guiding me through a dark place: a breakup, a deep depression, my mother’s death. But as I moved through those times, I knew deliverance as concrete as a rescue from drowning.
I learned these lyrics from a gospel group called the Mighty Clouds of Joy:
I don't feel no ways tired,
I've come too far from where I started from.
Nobody told me that the road would be easy,
I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me.
God has already brought Jesus out of the tomb and Jonah out of the whale, and you and me from whatever dark place we’re trapped in. Remember. God’s deliverance is sure and we sing our song from memory, as we walk through light and shadow, mountain and valley in this dappled life.
- Melinda Reagor Flannery
Melinda Reagor Flannery has been at St. Stephen's since 1992, attending the 10:30 a.m. service. She currently serves in the Downtown Choir, as a lector and in the social media and signing ministry groups, preaching occasionally.