22 Nov 2016
The angel of God swung the sickle over the whole earth, and the earth was harvested. That’s a pretty dramatic image St. John gives of God taking us to himself. Someday we’ll be like those clusters of ripe grapes, and we’ll be harvested and taken to God. Or, as St. John puts it, we’ll be “thrown into the great wine press of God’s fury.”
It’s strange, then, that our psalm sees God’s coming and harvesting as a joyous thing: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice . . . The Lord comes to judge the earth!” After all, the idea of being “thrown into the great wine press of God’s fury” doesn’t sound that exciting. But, then again, “God’s fury” is not like ours.
We get angry. We turn vengeful. Humanity holds resentment and grudges. And so, the human brand of fury is kind of scary. But God’s fury is entirely different; it’s an intense passion to get rid of every impurity, to burn up and smash everything that gets in between him and us. There’s no anger or vengeance in God’s fury; there’s only the passion to see things get set right again.
And so, maybe the psalm has it right: “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice,” someday God’s angels will come and throw us into the great wine press of God’s fury. It’ll be a great day, someday, to finally be free, to finally be alive and truly happy with our God.