In what may be the biblical version of a mass strike, the people of Nineveh—“everyone, great and small”—proclaimed a fast and robed in mourning. Should Chicago hear Jonah’s cry today it would sound, “Four months more and NATO-G8 is shut down!”
I could be wrong. In fact I’m curious how the Kairos community understands the message of Jonah today. Looking at the recent request from the 8th Day Center I propose an urgent reflection based on the need for organizing the Walk for Justice. For the past three years Kairos has organized one presentation during the Good Friday ecumenical action.
This Wednesday concludes the International Week for Christian Unity. Does the Kairos community have members willing to organize for Christian Unity on this Walk for Justice? Good Friday may be a long way off, yet the reading from this past Sunday from the book of Jonah reminds of the call to take sackcloth. In the Chicago community we are a group whose activism is appreciated and in this years invitation we are again honored. Will individuals among us step forward today?
I may be getting ahead of myself by proposing that one station focus on a public mourning for the NATO-G8. Can you imagine its burial ceremony with me? Should be a time when Chicagoans need a faithful interpretation of the Gospels in anticipation of the NATO-G8…
Let me back up to the theme of unity. I believe that Kairos has found its note. When we come together each year at Good Friday with Chicagoans we have sung a note of solemnity. I believe we are part of the harmony Chicago wishes to hear, that our manifestation of human dignity and our subdued outcry for an end to indefinite detention, the utterance of silence, the statue of Guantánamo phantasms, these are the sounds and sights Chicago has come to us for.
Jonah is for us one emblematic.We may not want to respond to the call from 8th Day; it may seem too much to host not one station but two, as they have invited. We could choose anonymity this Good Friday as Jonah did in disguise on the ship he had hoped to escape his destiny. We might prefer an ordinary role in our community, the diligent citizen, the mindful reformer, the agent for change. Prophecy, however, has for three years been the role of Kairos in Chicago’s Walk for Justice. I tender you this gentle prayer to ‘re-think’ or even to ‘think it over’, to repent, the time is near!
So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, that great city, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.