Shed Your Sins
And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. —Exodus3:6 (nrsv)
I wasn’t too excited before the reconciliation/forgiveness service at St. Columba, a strong, spirited church that we attend in Oakland, California. At the entrance of the darkened, purple-draped church were ugly, fist-size rocks. We were to select one and take it inside.
Our pastor explained that the rock symbolized our sins. We were to feel the drag of its weight as we held it during the service and carried it when we went to one of the ministers to confess. Afterward, we were to drop our rocks in a large bin set on the altar. This was how we would release sin and accept God’s forgiveness.
Easier said than done, I thought. I didn’t believe it would be that simple to shed my sins.
While I waited to make my confession, I watched others. Some were crying; others smiling and laughing, relieved as the rocks slipped from their fists. Some bent to place the rock gingerly. A few triumphantly tossed in their rocks. One woman, victory etched in her features, hurled hers, the resulting clang mixing with our laughter.
I discovered that everyone felt the burden of sin differently and that many who’d released their rock looked truly surprised at the freedom they felt. Could I be one of them?
I stood up. I didn’t know what would happen tomorrow or the next day, but right then I was eager to find out how it would feel to drop that rock.
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