Smell is our most evocative sense. Wild garlic in the woods in spring, elder blossom, wild honeysuckle, new-mown grass in the hay meadows, and meadowsweet are all part of my smell of the countryside.
But God says that, when He thinks of us, He smells Jesus.
Recently, my son and I smelt a dreadful smell in the woods. It was really bad and very dead: a dead deer, lying in the ditch. We got out quick.
How do people react when they come across me? Do they run away and get out quick? Avoid me before I notice them? Or do they run after me because they want to greet me, hug me?
Do we make life miserable for those around us – because we’re always challenging, complaining, arguing, moaning? Or do others think of us first as people they like to have around: people who will volunteer when there are grim jobs to be done, people who will listen and love and identify with others when they are distressed? Are we peace-makers, who bring harmony and understanding? Or do we bring dissention and argument, leaving upset wrecks behind us?
When Lazarus was very ill, Jesus was the person Mary and Martha wanted near them. They trusted Jesus implicitly. Jesus restored Lazarus back to life.
Jesus touched the untouchable outcast leper man, someone whom nobody had touched since leprosy first appeared on his skin. Jesus healed the man - but first He brought deep emotional healing by that touch of acceptance.
At the well in Samaria, Jesus brought transformation to the woman who came to fetch water. He exposed the deep issues of her rejection and shame; and she knew she was totally accepted by Jesus.
I think the ‘aroma of Christ’ is a multi-faceted experience, made up of many different things - just like my ‘smell memory’ associated with open countryside. It’s as though each of us, individually, brings to God our contribution of what becomes, to our Father, the aroma of Jesus in our world today.
To those who hate Jesus, that smell of His presence will be bad. It may seem strong and disgusting. We can’t help that. Jesus also found the same reaction operated against Him when people hated His Father.
But the Father loves it when we, His children, bring to Him that sweet sacrificial aroma of His Son. And we do it by being as He was, wherever we are.
Prayer: God, my Father, I want to be, today, for You, the sweet aroma of Your Son, to bring Your love, Your mercy, Your acceptance and Your healing to those around me. I want to bring Your joy, Your delight, Your affirmation and Your life to the atmosphere of wherever I am. Amen.
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