An Advent reflection by Liz Brown.
Malachi 4:1 See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
I have a vivid memory of watching a terrifying fire raging across a large area of the South Downs near Brighton. Being a town girl, I was greatly reassured to hear that this was the then common practice of “stubble burning” – completely clearing the fields ready for ploughing and then reseeding a new crop.
Malachi’s awful warning of fire destroying all that was not good and no longer useful is a disturbing image. But, his message, like that of John the Baptist, was an urgent call for repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, renewing the covenant between God and His beloved people.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Ps. 51
Owning up to our faults is a difficult thing to do. God will give us the courage to do it – we just need to ask.