The book of Jonah is like an extended scene from a Second City comedy routine. A man is sent to his worst enemy to announce their immanent doom, a job he understandably wants to avoid. He tries to avoid his fate, and gets thrown over the side of the ship that was carrying and ends up in the belly of a whale. Lo and behold, the fish spits him up on the shores of the land to which he was sent to carry bad news. He gathers the courage to do what is required, expecting the worst, and is surprised when his enemies take his words to heart and change their ways.
In fact, Jonah has a hard time letting go of his anger at his enemies. Secretly he was looking forward to the punishment God had in store for them, and hates to see them let off the hook.
It’s been a week of astounding reversals. In the short days since his inauguration our president has already begun to chart a new course for the country. New executive orders on torture and detention, new envoys chosen to represent the country in the Middle East. When long-awaited change comes, can we keep our bearings well enough to live in the new reality – where former enemies, foreign and domestic, may yet become friends?