A Pleasing Aroma (09-06-21)
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:12-17
When I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.
I love the smell of hyacinths; they remind me of my childhood and of growing them in jars of water, starting them off in the dark in September and bringing them into the light around November so they would flower in the new year.
Having spent most of my childhood and working life, pre-ordination, on farms, I also love the smells of the countryside, whether it is new-mown hay, silage or farmyard manure. Others may turn up their noses at some of these aromas, but to me they are the smells of an enjoyable time in my life. Conversely I hate the smell of diesel which to others might remind them of happy days working with machinery or of holidays on canal boats.
Aromas are evocative, but what is a sweet-smelling aroma to one person may be quite unpleasant to another.
Paul uses the idea of aromas to describe the Christian gospel. To those who see the gospel as a message of peace, of love, of forgiveness and of freedom, Paul says will be the sweet-smelling fragrance of life. To those who maybe see the Christian gospel as a message of accountability, of restrictions and of a challenge to their world view, Paul says it will seem like the stench of death.
But Paul also uses the idea of aromas to describe the Christians who represent Christ to those who are yet to believe in him. We are, he says, the pleasing aroma of Christ. We may not be able to influence how people respond to the Christian gospel, but we can make sure that the fragrance that we give off to others is the sweet-smelling aroma of the love, the forgiveness, the peace and the grace that we have received, and are receiving, from God.
Lord, In all my meetings and conversations today, may I exude the sweet-smelling fragrance of the grace you have shown to me.
May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place