Wake up and smell the….

If you had to lose one of your 5 senses which would you choose?

A couple of weeks ago, due to a rather nasty virus, I completely lost my sense of smell – something that apparently in rare cases can be knocked out permanently. For a couple of weeks, the prospect of never being able to smell fresh coffee, newly laundered sheets or the herb basil (my favourite smell of all) ever again, was a disheartening thought.

Smell – hardly one of the most dynamic senses; it just sort of ‘hangs around’…yet, it’s the sense that’s most strongly connected to memory and can have a profound effect on our emotions and actions. Folks this morning talked of childhood memories, anticipation and exhilaration – all triggered by different smells.

We went for a sensory walk and we breathed deep and slow allowing the sights, sounds and of course, the smells of creation, to speak to us of God’s Grace. After a shape-shifting torrid week of political change it was good to step out of the mayhem.

2 Corinthians 2 14-16 says: “Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.”

Two people who have appeared in the newspapers seemed to me to be a perfect example of this. Jo Cox – the Labour MP recently murdered and Bob Holman – a Christian who, as a successful academic, left status and lifestyle to live among the severely disadvantaged in Glasgow.
“Enthusiasm, kindness, love of life, fierce advocacy in her work and unwavering belief in the goodness of everyone she met.”
“He would help to fill in benefit forms, speak on people’s behalf at tribunals, find money for a new washing machine, or accompany a youngster to court.”

That’s a scent to bottle.

Our prayers for reconciliation, healing and those who are in turmoil or suffering, drifted up on Frankincense incense sticks and we continued to carry them in our walk until we shared bread and wine where we said these words together:

In this God-breathed bread and wine
everyone can receive – no one is out – everyone is in
In this God-touched bread and wine
our bondage is broken and we are reconciled
In this God –blessed bread and wine
we have a symbol of hope and a foretaste of kingdom freedom
feel it
smell it
taste it
take it in
and know it does you good.

Do we bring ‘an aroma redolent with life’ to people? Perhaps it might not be anything more dramatic than the way smell seems to operate – by just hanging around – but what a profound effect that aroma can have.