Read Malachi 3:1-4.

From Susan Mink’s Preparing the Way:

In those days, refining or purifying silver was a tedious process. While there are chemical methods of refining silver today, the ancient way, known as cupellation, is still one of the best ways to achieve very high purity. Silver is found in lead, so lead is the raw material. As the refiner heats the lead, a dark scum forms on top of the molten metal. If the temperature is kept high and precise enough for the proper amount of time, the lead oxidizes, the scum disappears, and the metal becomes bright as the silver is revealed. The refiner knows that the silver has achieved purity when he can see his reflection on the surface.

Malachi’s audience must have know about the refining process, which is why he uses it in his prophecy.Those who are refined will become reflections of God’s love and justice. Jewish tradition says that Elijah is the messenger spoken of here. Christians tend to realize John the Baptist as the messenger as he prepared the way for Jesus Christ by calling people to come out of the wilderness and refine their spiritual core. It is from this core that God’s love and grace, justice and mercy is revealed through you and I.

You have been refined! Today, consider how you are revealing God’s love and grace, justice and mercy to others. Make a list of these in your journal.

Pray

Lord God, thank you for refining us into new creations. Even though the process is not always fun, changing is necessary as we grow in our faith. Help us remember that.  May your Holy Spirit move in and through us to share your love and grace, justice and mercy with others. Amen.