Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalms 32:1 NRSV)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem, THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER, is the fascinating story of a ship and its crew who are lost in a land of ice. When hope is almost gone, a great sea bird, an albatross, appears through the fog and mist, bringing with it a strong south wind that moves the ship out of danger. But the ancient mariner, without provocation, shoots the bird with his crossbow. His fellow crewmen are horrified. They feel that the bird is a sign of good luck and that, with its death, bad luck will follow them--and it did. The ship lay becalmed for days. The thirsty seamen blame the ancient mariner for their plight and hang the dead albatross around his neck as a sign of his guilt. Although the old man confessed his sin and performed penance, he still suffered the agony of his guilt and felt compelled to tell his story again and again. His present and his future were overshadowed by his guilt from the past.

Some of us carry an albatross of guilt around our necks. May we seek God's forgiveness and leave our sin at God's feet.

Dear God, as you forgive me may I also forgive myself. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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