From a realisation that we are redeemed and known by name, formed and made to glorify God, we find strength. There is much to fear, from the randomness of events to the malice of the systems and powers we find around us. If we focus on these and fail to lift our eyes to see the good and open our ears to hear the voice of God, we quickly sink.
Insecurity and shame dog our steps if we do not stop to contemplate that we are precious. From the God of blessing we receive reassurance and know love. We can see that the One Who Is, is the source of order and peace in the midst of the turmoil; the chaos causes us to be still and call out, “Glory!”
We are like grains of wheat on the threshing floor. At the right time, the thresher separates the wheat from its chaff. Both are thrown in the air. The wind blows away the chaff, the wheat falls to the floor. The chaff is gathered and burned leaving the wheat seed.
Each of us in this picture, is a grain of wheat; we are created precious. As we are made and formed, the chaff has protected us, but it is the seed that brings life. When the time of harvesting comes, at the right time, the seed is a source of nourishment, of new life.
God looks for this new life and through his grace and mercy, in the circumstances of our real life the thresher, the voice of Christ, separates the seed from its protective layer.
God calls out life and we find that all that is not there to nourish life, falls away. The breath of the Spirit blows it away, gathers it and burns. This is an experience of all enveloping breath and fire. This is not the judgement of separating people from people, as a grain of wheat is both seed and chaff. This is not the judgement of eternal fires of torment of some but of the fire of destruction of death; the chaff is not the living part of the grain of wheat. ( Was John the Baptist right about Jesus and judgement?).
The baptism of Jesus blows away all our pretensions and hypocrisy, all that protects us, and redeems the part that brings life.
BAPTISM OF THE LORD
Year C, Revised Common Lectionary
…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine…
…The voice of the LORD is over the waters…
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
…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.”
…”You are my Son, the Beloved;
with you I am well pleased.”