As children, my sister and I spent many happy hours in a dusty, hot smithy, climbing all over the farm wagons and various farm implements that my grandfather was repairing. As a special treat, my sister and I were allowed to hang on the long handle used to pump the huge bellows, up-and-down up-and-down, making the embers burn brightly. He was an old-fashioned craftsman, diligent and skillful, also a much needed farrier to farmers who still used horses to plough their fields. His anvil rang from morning until evening, sparks flying, burning  constellations of stars on his heavily muscled forearms.

These tiny blemishes fascinated me, and when he would relax in his easy chair on the verandah, I would sometimes stroke those tiny scars, my child’s fingers finding the little dents they formed. Somehow there was a beauty to them, and I found them irresistible.

As I look back, I marvel at the work of the Holy Spirit. I marvel that the scars burned into my soul, often by my own willfulness and sin, are being turned into stars of Grace.