Festival Blog

2018 Festival of Homiletics - Washington, DC

"Preaching and Politics"

 

Efforts of Healing

“The world is a place where beauty and grace exist alongside sordidness and violence … it is on behalf of expanding the domain of the former that we denounce and resist the latter. All genuine efforts to heal our society or the environment are at root acts of love, acts of caring as well as condemning.”[i]

In the Gospel text for this second week of Advent, John the Baptist speaks truth we may not want to hear. He foretells of a fiery baptism to come when our Savior will separate out the wheat and the chaff in our broken world. It is easy to anthropomorphize the nutritious grain and its rough husk; to speculate who will burn in the “unquenchable fire.” 

Instead, let’s consider what scaly and indigestible outer husks of the grains in our life ought to go. It is never for us to place judgement on others, but what is our place is to denounce, resist and condemn violence and sordidness in our lives.

What is the chaff to be separated from your life? Is it the chaff of self-doubt? The chaff of complacency? The chaff of selfishness? The chaff of conceit? The chaff of wastefulness? 

Whatever it may be, let it burn in the hope-filled flames of the Advent candles this season as we make efforts to heal and live in beauty and grace until our Savior comes again.

[i] Paul Rogat Loeb, The Impossible Will Take A Little While (New York: Basic Books, 2014), 128.

Image: "Wheat," Image by Clare Black via Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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