My sister and brother-in-law gave Norah a fantastic little book. It is called Praying With Our Feet by Lisa Weaver. Ingrid Hess is the illustrator. Both women are Mennonites.
I’ll start with the fun things I love about the book:
- first person from the perspective of a little girl
- little girl’s aunt wears her baby in a stylin’ sling
- illustrations are crazy colorful
- the town map includes a community garden and food coop
- diversity, diversity, diversity
- the minister is a woman. and she knits. and wears sandals.
The serious things I love about the book:
It is a message of peace. And action. And love. Praying with our feet, in this book, means walking for peace. “While we walk, I remember that my minister often says the voice of Jesus is love. Every person is our neighbor, not just the people who live right beside us.”
I thought of this book tonight because I’ve been listening to a sermon podcast series on Jonah. I know, I know, when we think of Jonah, many of us immediately flashback to Sunday School pictures of a whale. And that is really all we remember about this short book.
Norah recently asked me to read the entire book straight from the Bible. She had read a children’s version and I suppose she wanted to know more. After reading the entire book to her, I suppose I wanted to know more.
What I learned:
- Nineveh was in Assyria
- The Assyrians were brutal and oppressive to the Jewish people
- The Assyrians were really, really brutal and oppressive to the Jewish people
- Jonah was a Jew
- Jonah wanted God to destroy Nineveh
- While he sat hoping for Nineveh’s destruction, God sent a vine to provide shade for him
- When God later sent a worm to whither the vine, Jonah pouted and said (rather dramatically) that he was angry enough to die
And here it is (Jonah 4:9-11):
But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”
“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”
But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”
Ahhh, God tended these people and made them grow. These are his children, too. It is offensive, is it not? These people who easily rivaled Hitler simply said they were sorry and they received grace.
May God “guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)
For more on Christianity and nonviolence, may I recommend Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne or The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder? Amazing books, these two.