There is an ancient tale of three horsemen who were riding through a desert at dusk. As they crossed the dry bed of a river, a loud voice spoke to them out of the darkness, “Stop where you are!” They obeyed. Then the voice instructed them to dismount, pick up a handful of pebbles, put them in their pockets . . .. And remount. Again, they obeyed.
The voice spoke one last time, “You have listened well and followed my commands. Tomorrow at sunrise you will be both glad and sorry.”
Perplexed, the horsemen rode on. When the sun rose, they reached into their pockets and found that a miracle had happened. The pebbles had been transformed into diamonds, rubies, and other precious gems. Then they remembered the voice, and they were both glad and sorry. Glad they had taken some, but sorry they had not taken more.
The tale relates to God’s gifts of grace, forgiveness, and love. They are only gifts if we receive them and open them.
I know too many people who carry around their past like a ton of bricks. They are weighed down by mistakes they have made, things they said or did, people they may have hurt.
While it is important to make amends, and learn from our mistakes, our faith teaches us that God is forgiving, merciful, and full of grace.
In 1 John we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Through the prophet Isaiah God speaks, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Let us pray. Loving God, help us today, receive your gifts of forgiveness and love. Wash over us with your grace that we might begin anew this day, through Jesus Christ. Amen.