Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Thought for the Day

This morning one of the stories on BBC Radio Bristol was that someone had, almost certainly, discovered a large amount of ambergris on a North Somerset beach. But the challenge was to get a Thought for the Day out of it:

So, someone has found ambergris on a local beach.

There's a story in the Bible about a prophet who didn't go where he was told to go. Eventually, making headway in the wrong direction, some superstitious sailors threw him overboard believing he was the cause of the storm they were in. According to the story the weather then calmed, which terrified them, and the prophet was swallowed by a large fish.

In this unlikely tale it was in the fish's stomach that the man came to his senses - people in the Bible often come to their senses in strange places - and the fish vomited him up onto dry land. Maybe he should have checked to see if there was anything valuable nearby.

The man, name of Jonah by the way, then went where he had been called to go, to preach to people he didn't like very much. God, it is said, decided not to strike them all down and Jonah got mad because that was what he would have preferred God to do.

Later Jonah became angry at the death of a plant under which he was sheltering. God asked him a key question - if you're upset about a plant why shouldn't I be concerned about a huge group of people?

Jonah had no answer and we often forget that the fishy tale ends there.

You can read a lot into this well-known story, which we often call Jonah and the whale. Maybe the shortest lesson is that if God is calling you to do something you simply don't get to opt out.

And for us to to think about today? That pearls are oyster grit, ambergris is whale puke and brilliant, valuable stories can come from equally unlikely places.

For the first time in three and a bit years I got a round of applause in the studio (if two people can constitute a 'round').

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