Scripture Reading: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ –Luke 3:15-17
We pause now in our discourse on baptism, for a brief side trip into keeping our granaries clean or letting the Messiah keep them clean. Although I was raised on a farm, we did not have a granary and I have no experience of cleaning one. I was at one-time adept at the periodic cleaning of our chicken house, and even though I have no experience of granary upkeep, I can assure you that cleaning chicken houses is much worse.
The art of being whole includes the winnowing of all the clutter from our life we pick up along the way inhibiting our being fully who God is calling us to be. First, I think it is important that we recognize that chaff in its origins is necessary and useful. The chaff is the part of a plant, like a corn husk, that protects the seed in its developmental stages. As the seed matures it must be separated from the chaff to be useful. Life events sometimes result in our building protective shields against threats to our wellbeing, which at the time might have been necessary, but can become crippling if made permanent. Often we become so use to these shields we do not recognize that they still are in use. Even when we do see them, we cannot turn them loose. Our relationship with Jesus Christ can free us of that which holds us back.
The start of a New Year is a great time to clean house to get the clutter out of our lives particularly that which is choking our hearts and minds, bodies and spirits and sapping our strength. Take some time for reflection and meditation. Give up to God those things that are impeding your being you.
Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.