the scents of love

Waves of fragrance wafting in balmy spring air filled with the scents of lilac, lily of the valley, and apple blossoms soothe our spirits, soften cares, stretch our souls to welcome peace.

‘Breathing in the aroma of Christ … breathing out the aroma of Christ.’

As we walk along roads with sometimes heavy hearts we are heartened by that which permeates our thoughts with pleasant associations of mercy and meekness. Loveliness waits to caress us where the duress of pressures against our souls drift away in salutations of tender embrace stimulating our olfactory nerves to enjoy his goodness, simulating our continued desire to serve in his name with the sweetness of his Spirit in worship and thanksgiving.

‘Breathing in the aroma of Christ … breathing out the aroma of Christ.’

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But when we catch the scent of rotting conflict in the air, the prolonged infection of apathetic apostasy, or the uncleansed wounds of broken relationship, we may want to hold our breath to cover the stench and run the other direction.

A garden oasis at times may be a gift of the Father’s fond attention to console us when life takes its toll and the smell of decaying humility and Christ-less blooms arise where we serve.  And it may be used at other times to point out the offensive odours emmanating from ourselves in contrast to the pure loveliness of God.

Where people promote personal egos by pinning their good side out on the line for all to see beside the grey and shadowed inconsistencies of another.  Where parents keep their distance from practicing apologies to children, or children to parents.  Where parishioners avoid appropriate admission of misdemeanour.  Where pastors wrongly perceive themselves to be above rebuke.  Where presbyters portray themselves as only having pure intent.  Where politics gets in the way.

Where the smell of interpersonal sin piles up and leaves us gasping for air.

‘Breathing in the aroma of Christ … breathing out the aroma of Christ.’

To stand in the putrid smells of human brokenness is to stand with Christ in his saving mission in humble recognition of our own need for renewal asking that he may transform our collectively unpleasant odours into lightly scented waters of his grace and essential oils to infiltrate the mess with freshly perfumed expressions of agape love and re-establish the garden of heavenly scents as our full-time home.

When our senses become dulled to our own dependence on his gracious gifts to integrate the whole of who we are as well as those around us, simple flowers blooming in a garden grove may fail to smile the smile of God or offer us reminders of the lovely scent of humble prayer before his throne.  Towering scriptural truths assuming clarity may be ignored.  Worship withers as petals once full of potent praise fall to the ground.

So, take a few deep breaths … listen prayerfully.  Deeply smell the blossoming promises of peace to those who choose to know the fragrance of Christ filling every breath to air out stuffiness from missing the mark of blooming only in him, learning to serve in love no matter the stink.

It makes so much more sense than following the scents of anything else.

‘Breathing in the aroma of Christ … breathing out the aroma of Christ.’

‘Lord, when our environment is stale with stiff relationships, acrid with anger, or pungent with purposelessness, we tend to take only shallow breaths, just getting through the day.

Help us take deep breaths of your word and Spirit to become immersed in the beautiful scent of who you are and so to lead from this place of perfumed peace.  Help us open the windows of our souls to be enveloped by the aroma of Christ with each new day.

May you bring to mind at every turn the fragrance of your self sacrifice, the flower of love crushed for us.  As we soak in you, may we infuse this world with your love.   Thank you for every whiff of encouragement along the way.  Amen’

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2: 14-16)

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