Under the Gourd Vine

Under the Gourd Vine, 2019
Felt marker, Sharpie, pencil crayon, white ink, metallic water colour, 7.5″ x 10″

The story of Jonah is both a comedy and a tragedy. Having run away from God, been swallowed by a whale and spit back out on the shore, Jonah finally takes up the call to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh–representative of Assyria, a historic enemy of his people., only to have God repent of his planned judgement when the people respond with penitence.

Here is the challenge for Jonah: those who have traumatized his people will not be destroyed, they are not “getting what they deserve”, they too are the recipients of God’s grace.

Jonah is not pleased: it is for this very reason that he fled God’s call in the first place.

“I beseech You, LORD, was it not my word when I was still in my land? Therefore did I hasten to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in kindness and relenting from evil. And now, LORD, take my life, pray, from me, for better my death than my life.”

Accepting God’s grace for his enemies becomes a step too far; the narrative ends with God in sorrow, and Jonah in a sulk.