A prayer for the third Sunday after Epiphany.


We have become catastrophic people.

Each night the news opens with “late-breaking” headlines.
Each morning our social media offers us warnings and predictions.
Each conversation begins with, “Did you hear?”

We are fearful and outraged.
We are anxious and numb.
We are overwhelmed and, I confess, underestimate what your presence might mean to us.

When we read the words of Jonah saying, “the city will be overthrown in forty days,” it sounds like our late-breaking news.

When we imagine him saying, “repent”, because we don’t know for sure that was the message, it sounds like voices we hear all the time: change this, stop that, pass this, start that.

But the people Jonah talked to did repent. They changed direction. They turned from their evil ways.

We’re pretty sure what the evil ways of others are, God. We can point them out with precision. We’re less sure about our own. We have reasons, we have explanations, we have excuses.

Perhaps we could start simply. We could confess to you that we are fearful and ask you to help us understand why. We could confess to you that we are outraged, and we could turn from the voices that make us that way. We could confess to you that we are anxious and ask you to flood us with peace instead of the ways that we look for numbness.

We could turn from our own opinions and turn toward your wisdom.

That would be a way to start to repent.

I ask for your help for each of us.

Through you Christ, our Lord.


Reflecting Jonah 3:1-10, a scripture for today.