Refiner’s Fire
(Cindy Wang Brandt)

Malachi 3:1-4
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

I used to believe the refiner’s fire was meant to add suffering so we are purified by pain. But that paints a very masochistic view of God. If God is holy and just and loving, God’s fire illuminates so that we can draw together to relieve suffering of one another. Do not fear the refiner’s fire. It lights truth and justice and a path forward that includes those who suffer those among us.

Prepare yourselves. He who comes will not be what we expect. It will not be the voices of those we are used to hearing from platforms and spotlights. It will be the surprising stories from those we have not heard before, refining us by opening our eyes, driving us to repentance, and then drawing us to a larger version of being human in our beautifully diverse world.

-Cindy Wang Brandt

What messages have you been told about the refiner’s fire?

How has your understanding of this metaphor evolved?

This episode was written and recorded by Cindy Wang Brandt. It was produced by Jim Keat. Samples include Refiner’s Fire featuring Brian Doerksen & TWP Band. Background tracks include Relinquish, Blue Highway, and Smooth Actor by Podington Bear and Getting Lighter by Goldmund.

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