In chapter nine of the novel Moby Dick, the American 19th century author Herman Melville described a congregation of seafarers singing …

The ribs and terrors in the whale,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,
And left me deepening down to doom.
I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
Oh, I was plunging to despair.
In black distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe him mine,
He bowed his ear to my complaints—
No more the whale did me confine.
With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightening shone
The face of my Deliverer God.
My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power.

It is a great poem and would be a great hymn to sing this Sunday as we continue to follow the story of Jonah. The prophet has been shipwrecked, swallowed by a whale, and spat up upon the shore … at the direction of God. ‘My Deliverer God’ indeed!

But the point lies in what follows. Jonah’s deliverance has not been for some open-ended continuation of his life but for a specific calling within God’s sovereign purposes – ‘Get up, go to Nineveh that great city and proclaim there the message that I tell you’ (Jonah 3:2).

The Gate of Mishqi, Mosul Iraq (about 7 B.C.)

We will begin the new week considering the dynamics of this calling of Jonah, and the calling we know in Christ. We would welcome you to join us this last Sunday of August. Have a look at the Order of Service below, and if you are in the area, we invite you to sing and pray and listen and reflect with us. There is a nursery for infants offered during the service. And there is ample parking on the city surface lot off Queen Street just behind the church and on neighbouring streets (note that the time of day restrictions north of Queen are not applicable on Sundays).

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