Friday, April 8, 2011

The Smell of Life

"What's your favorite smell?" the radio host asked.  "Call in with your answer and we'll enter you into a drawing for a ham and a $50 gift certificate!"

I can smell that ham now, with some whole cloves poked in it while it bakes, drizzled in pineapple juice, with a sweet potato/sliced apple dish beside it in the oven.  So, what's my favorite smell?

When I was a kid I seemed to be able to smell whatever Mom was cooking.  She laughs that I would open the front door and could tell immediately if she'd made fudge.  Or I'd come in for dinner, take a whiff, and say (pre-speech therapy days), "Ummmm, coun for dinner!"

Perhaps the smell that had the greatest effect on me was rubber!  For years my favorite store was Les Schwab, and it wasn't for the popcorn!

Now I guess I'd have to say that the smell of "clean" is my favorite, not the residual fragrance of the cleaning supplies, but the freshness that you sense when you put a clean towel to your face or finish scrubbing the bathroom.  Or when you bring the crisp, dry sheets in after a few hours on the line, where they've been hanging in the sun.  Oh, that's so lovely.

I began to wonder what God's favorite smell is.  I think it must be incense, as He included it in the sacrifice system that He instituted through Moses.  In Exodus 30 He even gave a recipe for the incense to be placed in the front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where He would meet with the people.  He told Moses, "Take fragrant spices -- gum resin, onycha and galbanum -- and pure frankincense all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer.  It is to be salted and pure and sacred" (verses 34-36).

Ephesians 5:2 tells us that "Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  And we, as His followers, spread "everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing" (2 Corinthians 2:14, 15).  The aroma of Christ through His people is the sweet fragrance of life: clean, pure, inviting and welcoming.  The world needs the aroma of Christ.  May we who follow Him be broken jars of His lovely fragrance.

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