He Qi's Jonah

“In the face of death they screamed and strained to hold the soaking ropes, creaking in the wind, and wild scenes appeared, in full horror, behind the sea’s tumultuous waves and forces unrestrained.

“You gods eternal, ever good, who now offense betoken,
Save us, or give a sign that we may know who with secret sins has made you so: murderer, blasphemer, or one whose oath is broken,

One whose hidden wrongs have brought us to this evil, that his pride might profit as best it can!”
Thus they prayed and Jonah spoke, “I am the man! My life is forfeit. I opposed God’s will.”

Cast me out, my guilt incurs God’s anger still. The righteous should not perish with wrong!” they trembled, but their hands were strong to drop the guilty. And now the sea was still!”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Both this painting by Chinese artist, He Qi, and this poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer give us a glimpse in to the richness of the Jonah story.

I have been compelled particularly by Qi’s painting because I see many things there:

I see God’s hand calming the storm.

I see Jonah helplessly submitted to an unknown future as he is offered into the water.

I see a peaceful fish waiting, a possible womb of transformation, not a scary whale as I remember from my childhood.

I see God surrounding everything – the storm, the offering, the sea, the fish, everything.

What do you see?


Categories: Art

Author:Chris Heckert

Senior Pastor of Haddonfield United Methodist Church Musician, communicator, husband/father, seeker of a better way through reconciliation by the healing power of God's love


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