Our Song

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,
“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD my God.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
— Jonah 2

It’s been the kind of Monday that wants you to know it’s a Monday. From needing to wash and bleach our sheets because of sinus infections and nose bleeds, to the hectic, long lines at Trader Joe’s to grab much needed groceries (and peonies), with the to-do list seemingly staying the same but the hours decreasing ever so quickly; I cannot catch my breath. It is not only the seeming significant, but the never failing mundane that grabs my feet and forces them to find a dead sprint until I clean off the filth from the day full of forgetting and failure.

I am certain that most days, I am unaware of the many idols I grab hold of, unassuming of my own stubborn thoughts and patterns, unwilling to take a step back until the wick is tamped out.

Jonah has found his end. As he sits in the belly of a fish, going further down into the sea, into the chaos, he sings.

My parallels have some shortcomings, but fewer than I hoped to have to admit. No, Jonah wasn’t in the middle of errands and then getting swallowed up to his dire fate, but he did receive a direct word of the Lord and then chose to do the exact opposite. No, Jonah wasn’t “burnt-out” due to being such a busy bee, leading to his poor choices and demise, but we also don’t get the whole backstory to this guy either. I read the first chapter, and what I think at the end is, “good. This guy got what he deserved,” only to be astonished by Jonah’s song and the end of chapter 2.

Only to be astonished by the grace of God, this great grace that never truly gives us what we deserve.

He cries out. He faces his utter lostness, and yet, knows full well while in the womb of a fish where we would assume he’d be a goner by now, His God is going to do something completely miraculous. He remembers.

He is plunged into the water, and then violently brought out again: born again, baptized.

I sit down still in the throes of the mania of this Monday, with the written, direct Word of the Lord and I realize the many ways in which today, in which every day calls me to remember, regardless of the thick and weighty things that may feel as if they could drown me. We plunge our bodies in down deep, not stopping, acknowledging that not only is this world broken, we are broken; and the quotidian glories all mixed up have their mercies as do the submarine-like fish circumstances in our lives which somehow have their place as we are brought up and out of the pit like a miracle.

Jonah is deficient. Jesus is sufficient. Salvation belongs to the Lord!

As soon as we damn Jonah, we damn ourselves. We have a miracle everyday found in our gracious rebirth. Jonah’s song is our song. Let us sing because we remember. Let us sing even as we see with clear eyes our groaning towards Shalom while everything is in disarray. Let us sing, for we have been given what we do not deserve.