When I get in from a good walk on Dartmoor I am usually hot and sweaty whether it is winter or summer – whether the weather has been hot or cold. I am quite certain that I will be in need of a shower!
What do others smell when you are around? No – I am not being impertinent and enquiring about your breath or body-odour! Even if we have never used perfume or after-shave in our lives, we Christians are called to imitate Jesus – to be a fragrant offering.
Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1,2
The older I get as a Christian the more I realise that knowing what the Bible says is of no avail unless I live it in my life as well. Faith in the Risen Christ is inadequate unless accompanied by a Risen Life.
Faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. James 2:17
Each morning in my prayers, along with the person leading Morning Prayer in St Eustachius’ Church at 8am, I say these words: As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you. When I repeat those words I often add a few more words: set our hearts on fire like the burning bush with love for you. I think of the story of Moses when he saw a bush burning, but not being consumed. It was such an arresting sight that he had to step aside to examine it and there he met with God (see Exodus 3:1-6). We are not just called to be a fragrant offering but also an attractive sight!
I write this in August when the church calendar remembers the Transfiguration – when Jesus’s appearance was transformed for a while in front of three of his disciples: the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white (see Luke 9:28-36). The entry in the Diocesan prayer diary said this: On the feast of the Transfiguration we pray that we would be transfigured to be your presence in the world. Help us to live in ways which show by our deeds the words of Jesus … And just a few days before I had seen one Church member doing just that. Having taken someone to the doctors’ surgery, she was now taking them around town where they struggle to get to from their rural abode.
It should be important to us what “smell” accompanies us; what “whiff” others get when they encounter us; what sight they see when they look upon us, whether they be family, friends, neighbours, colleagues or strangers. Let us pray that by God’s grace it may be fragrant and attractive!
Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 2 Corinthians 2:14