Monday, December 6, 2010

Grace will Shake of the Chaff Matthew 3:1-12

Advent brings an annual reading of John the Baptist's bold declarations in the desert: repent and prepare.

Many read the Gospel, including a preacher I heard yesterday in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and focus in on our actions to make ourselves ready. Quoting a bishop's letter the preacher made a case that Advent involves preparation responding to John's call.

Reading Matthew again this year I was reminded that God is up to something preparing us; making us ready. John announced the coming of the Lord saying not just what we ought to do but what God is doing.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12 NRSV.
The Gospel here speaks of God acting on us; Jesus stand ready with a winnowing fork in his hand. Our lives will be winnowed. God is ready to sift us thoroughly separating the good grain from the chaff. Grain, when harvested, is an organic whole that must be sifted to be useful. The same thing can be said for each of us; God calls us in and needs to make us ready. John speaks here not of separating good people from bad; rather John is describe the act of God to sifting, winnowing each of us that we might be ready to meet him and follow him free of the chaff.

No comments: