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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Squeaky Clean


I spent a few minutes looking at one of the three lovely seashells Dilly gave me recently. This one is, I believe, a mussel shell. The iridescent purple/blue colour, once so vibrant, has faded to pale shades of blue, still beautiful. 

The shell is absolutely clean. Tides and waves no doubt have stripped the carcass away – or perhaps hungry gulls or even people. (Not for me, the delicacies of mussel- consumption. But that’s another story.) I’m sure that Dilly also washed away sand and salt which still clung to this shell when she picked it up from St Andrew’s beach.

I was reminded of another beachcomber in my life – over 15 years ago now, I suppose. We were holidaying in Ocean City, New Jersey, and had been invited to a beach party one evening. Doug spent hours collecting treasures and storing them in his bum bag. Remember those?

These were days before security checks would have led to confiscation, and the bum bag went through the x-ray machine at the airport without question. A week later, Doug awoke one morning at Gramma’s in California to discover his bag was alive with ants, called by the unmistakable smell of decay. Those crab claws and bits of shell had lain unwashed in a warm, dark space, and the rot had set in. Phew! Not only did the treasures go in the bin – the entire bum bag went out, so foul was the stench.

Jesus died on the cross to take the stench of sin away from me. When I came to him and asked him to forgive my sin, he took me gently into his hands and started washing. He didn’t depend on tides and waves to get me partially clean. He used his own blood to wash away the smallest stain he could find, and now I am clean. How hard I find it to believe that sometimes! I am reminded of sins long ago committed and repented of, and forget that when Jesus looks at me, he sees that clean shell. Those bits of putrefying filth were washed away long ago, and he no longer sees them nor holds them against me.

Today I want that truth to sink deeper into my heart. It’s all very well to know it in my head, but I want to be able to absolutely know through and through that I am forgiven every sin I have brought to him.
And he, in his incredible love, mercy, and grace, has washed them away and forgotten about them. 


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