Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Today's text

Matthew 3:10-12

[John the Baptist said]: “Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptize you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit 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 gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out."


Surprising and Unexpected One, do you startle even your messengers, hiding yourself from them even as they announce what little they know of you? John in his passion is as much wrong as right. He seems to expect a larger, more fierce version of himself. He is neither the first nor the last to confuse his way with yours.

Your appearance is more surprising and generous than he imagined, more gentle and subtle than his own. But he is also right: You appear in our flesh with world-shattering power to divide and heal, and to remake all things from the inside out.

Your appearance created deep distinction among souls, Jesus. Some welcomed you, making room for your birth into Mary’s arms. Some refused and feared your appearance, seeking to kill all that threatened to upset their world, so neatly ordered for their comfort.

People, like me, I suppose, made room for you as one more human soul, just one more traveler on life’s journey to the grave, expecting no more than this. They little imagined the world-shattering wonder they’d allowed access to their hearts. Certainly, I did not.

And you take that, Jesus, coming with Holy Spirit and fire to ignite us from lethargy into love, filling us with the same divine fire that willed your incarnation, burning us with that flame that does, indeed, burn off all that is not love, chaff indeed.

So come, Lord Jesus. Come with your fire. Our hearts grow cold.

Pr. David L. Miller

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