Winnowing, Separating chaff from grain
Winnowing, Separating chaff from grain

Yesterday, I read through the Lectionary scriptures for September 8, 2013 and once again read Psalm 1. Over the past several months I have encountered and considered this scripture again and again. Therefore, I must conclude God has not finished teaching me from these few powerful verses, because each time I read them something new leaps from the page capturing my mind and engaging my fingertips in the process. Yesterday, it was “chaff” and before I even realized exactly what I was doing, I composed a short poem with the one thought…Be Not Chaff.

This morning still considering the scripture, I searched for an image and also for my own knowledge the actual definition of “chaff”. Most writers agree that a sure killer of reader interest is to start off with a definition, so please note, I put a picture and a paragraph first.


1. the husks of grains and grasses that are separated during threshing.
2. straw cut up for fodder.
3. worthless matter; refuse.
4. the membranous, usu. dry, brittle bracts of the flowers of certain plants.
5. strips of metal foil dropped by an aircraft to confuse enemy radar.

1. to tease; banter.
2. good-natured teasing

Sometimes buried in semantics I find depth that expands understanding and so it was with this one. The message of the Psalm continues to draw me closer to God and the message of my bit of verse became clearer to me after considering all the elements of this simple word. I hope you will also find greater understanding of why the Psalmist writes :

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

And perhaps you will find something of light in the following, that is my prayer.

Be not like chaff driven by the wind
Scattered ashes blown from the hand
weeds plucked and gathered for the byre
tares bundled tightly and tossed into the fire

The fire burns, the wind blows,
the wolves howl, the night knows
No hand can hold chaff when a storm rages
No heart can bear sorrow evil engages.

Follow not the wicked or the path they tread
Sit not with the scoffers, eating moldy bread
Dwell not on greed, choose not evil advice
Flesh that lingers with sin, finds much to entice.

The fire burns, the wind blows
the wolves howl, the night knows
A mind that entertains both truth and lies
can expect nothing more than to perish and die.

Be the wind of the truth that blows chaff into the night
scatter the ashes so not one dark spark can ignite
Be lightning that flashes cleansing the air
And always be ready to do what God dares.

The fire burns, the wind blows
Wolves howl, and the night knows
God may whisper, or shout, or state the truth simply
But his word going out never comes back empty.