It is the only sermon I have memorized. No, it’s not Jonathan Edward’s, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It was Jonah 3:4 “Forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Jonah preaches and Nineveh repents.
About hundred years later, God sends another prophet to Nineveh. This time, it is Nahum. Instead of repenting, Nineveh gets an earful:
“Woe to the bloody city, all lies, full of plunder who’s looting never stops! The crack of the whip, the rumbling sounds of wheels;
horses a-gallop, chariots bounding, Cavalry charging, the flame of the sword, the flash of the spear, the many slain, the heaping corpses.”
What do you do if you live in the midst of corruption, violence, and lies? It is easy to channel your favorite prophet and condemn the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. When the Samaritans refused to listen to Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them. (cf. John 9:55) there is an even better way.
Say the Lord’s prayer.
Thomas Aquinas believes the Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. He writes, “The prayer teaches us what we should desire and the right orders of our prayers. “ According to the Didache, the early church prayed the “Lord’s Prayer” three times a day. If you say the Office of Lauds and Vespers, you know it is never to end without the Lord’s Prayer being said aloud.
Is the Lord’s Prayer a part of your tradition?