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Christian Union
May 6, 2019
CHRISTIAN UNION NEW YORK & Christian Union Washington, DC

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” - Jonah 1:1, 2

Andrej Rublev sm
"The Trinity," Andrei Rublev (1370-1430), Moscow, Russia


This passage shows God’s righteousness and compassion entwined throughout Scripture. 

  • God acknowledges Ninevah’s dignity (“that great city”) and seeks its repentance.
  • God sees Ninevah’s great evil and is angered and saddened by it.
From this passage we see that:

A. Compassion requires a recognition of who we are: both our depravity and our dignity.  Our tendency, however, is to see one without the other – and this tendency holds true for how we see ourselves and how we see others.

B. Righteousness cannot be expressed without the care and love that creates a desire for such high standards in another.  In the same way, compassion cannot be manifested apart from an embrace of a standard of righteousness that defines good and evil, right and wrong; a standard, incidentally, that none can attain alone.

C. The call of Jonah (and of the church, and of us) was to:
  • Go back into the world of pain, of need, of offensive brokenness,
  • Engage the brokenness of our world, not abandon it,
  • Go into every sphere, every vocation, every cultural cranny with the compassion and message of Christ.

Jonah was a reluctant missionary. Jesus was the compassionate Savior. Both loathed the idea of what lay before them; Jonah saw only great evil and fled, Jesus saw both great evil as well as the dignity of those who inhabited the city – and obeyed. Click to Tweet
Note the robes of the Holy Spirit (figure on right) in Rublev’s painting of the Trinity—the blue and green represent the heavens and earth—that the Spirit’s power and authority are everywhere. We are called in a similar way to Jonah.  To have compassion and to seek wholesale change; repentance, but also the transformation of all things.  And this is only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

scott crosbyScott Crosby is director of both Christian Union New York City and Christian Union Washington, DC. Scott is a graduate of The American University in Washington, DC. During 30 years of residence in Asia, he worked in diverse areas of the arts, publishing and missions. Scott established a gallery for Chinese contemporary art in Shanghai, as well as models of urban ministry in some of Asia's global cities. In 2010, Scott returned to the U.S. to establish the New City Commons Foundation to work with churches and networks in developing sustainable and effective models of Christian engagement of culture. Scott and his family have travelled extensively and are on a perpetual quest to locate new sources of authentic Chinese cuisine.
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