Monday, December 13, 2010

Wheat and Chaff

2 Advent 2010

Matt 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Heard a great Sermon last week, with a different “take” on the preceding. It appealed to me, ever the contrarian.

I’ve long considered this passage to be one describing the separation of that which is good from that which is bad. “Not so”, said the Curate.
“Chaff, when used as a metaphor, is a worthless bi-product as in what we find at the end of today’s Gospel reading in comparing wheat and chaff. And why not, it is inedible and has to be removed from whatever it is protecting for proper consumption and digestion. It also happens to be that little annoying piece of popcorn that gets stuck in your teeth. So, chaff, when not protecting whatever it is coating, is mostly useless and even annoying.

A friend of mine, who also happens to be a Priest, once tried to burn coffee bean chaff; that scaly protective coating around the bean, and could not get it to catch on fire. From the looks of it, chaff would not be able to withstand much of anything: wind or fire. In retrospect its service is to protect grain, cereal and coffee from the elements in order to foster growth and life. So it makes sense that it would be resistant to fire, but at some point, the chaff has to be removed and its fruits must be revealed.”
But, is chaff truly worthless? It does offer protection to that which it shields. I see this reading as a call to become less reliant upon those things which protect us from that which is undesirable, that which we would rather not face, that which can bring harm to us. The inconvenient and uncomfortable shedding of those secular defenses where we find safety; which in turn forces us to become vulnerable. A willingness to freely expose ourselves and our best fruits so we might become that which is intended all along.

I can get behind that.

Monday, December 06, 2010

My Heroes have always been Cowboys...part 2

In his book Reflections, Bob Lilly captions one photo of Don Meredith recounting the story of a flight back to Dallas following a game. The turbulence was tremendous, even the Stewardesses were afraid. Don Meredith was sitting towards the back with some of his “gang” drinking beer (Lilly was included in the group).

While several thought the plane might be going down and were fearful, Meredith just turned to Lilly and calmly said: “Well, it’s been a good ‘un, ain’t it?”

UBER COOL… and no one but Dandy Don could pull it off. Or for that matter many of the successes of the early years.

You were one of my heroes Dandy. Rest in Peace. Yeah, it really was a good one.