What remains?

Chapter 15

Good Monday Morning to this week 16 of 2020

His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3.17

We’re living in extraordinary times, we’re seeing things we could not have imagined, this not only in the realm of evil but also in the front of the good. How drastic of measures did it take to improve the air we breathe? 

Threshing is the beating of the crop against a stone to separate the grains from the stalk. Winnowing is a process of separation of the husk from the seeds by blowing air. The lighter husk flies away and the heavier seeds fall down. 1) the process of separating dust particles with the help of wind is called winnowing.

They used winnowing fans (or forks) to toss the harvested grain into the air. The chaff (the unwanted husks) would separate from the grain and be lifted away by the breeze, while the heavier grain would settle back onto the ground. The farmer could then gather the grain and store it in his barn.

This depiction of Jesus as the one who separates good from bad then gathers the good to himself and burns the bad, may not be our favorite image of Jesus from the Gospels.

The winnowing process has already begun, and it feels like we all in this process now currently. The words of Jesus have already begun threshing us, separating the worthless, husky part of us from the valuable, substantial grain.

H. Macmillan, D. D. put it this way, describing it as an autumn fire:

“By this autumn-fire, God purges the floor of nature. All effete substances that have served their purpose in the old form are burnt up, and only what has the promise of life and usefulness passes through the process. The straw and the chaff are consumed, and the wheat remains. As God thus purges His floor in nature, so He does in grace.
Jesus came in the autumn of the world when all things had grown ripe and old, and all growth had closed. He came to gather in the harvest of all previous dispensations. With the fire came a baptism, which thoroughly purged His floor — which consumed the stubble and the withered foliage of the old growth that had served its purpose in the religious culture of a former age, and prepared them for being worked up into the new developments of the springtime of grace.”

With water comes purification, with fire a much deeper process in which every substance is submitted. The fire of life in nature burns up all its decay and prepares it for new growth. Jesus caused, by the same fire of grace, to grow in spring freshness and beauty whose end is everlasting life.

But not once only at the end of the world did Jesus come to purge His floor with this sacred fire. He is coming continually, and His fire of purification is unquenchable. In each of these partial and temporary consumings, He anticipates and foreshadows the next season. Quench not the Spirit,” put not out the heavenly fire.

Something is in the air, change is in the making as many of us await the virus to pass, so that we can return to our ordinary life. Or will this just be the moment to “live with new grace” having come out of the winnowing process?

I wish you a good week, I wish you God’s care and provisions as you launch into another one of these “different” weeks and as this winnowing process feels as if it were forced upon you.

Philemon

 

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