Luke 3:15-18 (NRSV)
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.’
So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.
Devotion by Trish Greeves
Expectations. We all know about expectations. We eagerly long for good things to happen, often forgetting how readily we shape our expectations to fit our own hopes and immediate surroundings. When we do this, our Christmas celebrations leap over advent, taking on a superficial, almost pollyannaish glow. But not when we pay attention to John the Baptist!
Today’s passage invites us into a deeper dive to explore the role of discerning judgment in mature faith. God’s love and abounding grace do not invite an “anything-goes” carelessness about life. That would be giving into the ways of a fallen world. John reminds us that God does judge between right and wrong living. He invites us to realize that this is good news for all God’s people because it is that winnowing process that advances the kin-dom of God on earth. So how can we become more faithful winnowers? What is the chaff we need to burn off?
Holy God, give us the eyes and ears and heart to see the world as you do and the will to respond as you have directed us through John, the prophet of Advent. Amen.