Today as we celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, I have been thinking of how Jesus willingly, lovingly entered that muddy river, made his way to John and humbly presented himself. He was willing — and is willing — to take on all that we are and all that we will ever do, or fail to do, in order to gather us to himself. He is relentless in his pursuit of us, not giving up until we recognize and surrender to the truth of who we are and whose we are.
Surely this pleases God to no end. God — who created all things and hates nothing he has made — is Love. Made in his image, we are made for love.
The gospel lesson for today (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22) speaks of how Jesus will take his winnowing-fork to clear the threshing floor, of how he will gather the wheat into his granary but will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. This scripture used to frighten me. In my sin and brokenness, I worried that I would be swept up with the chaff. What I have come to realize is that the chaff is what mystics call the false self (my ego, my selfishness, the self-protective, self-serving front I sometimes hold up). What I know now is that God intends for none of us to be lost. He desires to heal us with his love so that we can then love others.