A sweet fragrance (06-10-22)
A Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 2. 14 - 17
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. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
We spent the last three days of our holiday in Edinburgh. On arrival, we walked down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyrood, wondering whether this had been a place for the laying of flowers in honour of the Queen. As we approached the gates, we soon realized that there were indeed flowers – a whole sea of flowers laid along the outer walls and railings of the palace grounds, around the bottoms of trees and on the grass along the nearby pathways. It was quite a sight to behold. From elaborate bouquets in fancy boxes to small humble posies, dotted with the occasional poppy wreath and Paddington Bear, these flowers were accompanied by many heartfelt messages of gratitude for the Queen’s life and words of sympathy for the Royal family. We could only read a few; there were simply too many to read them all.
However, despite the visual impact, this was not what made the most impact on me initally. Before we got close, we became quickly aware of an unfamiliar fragrance in the air. Although it was by now eleven days since the death of the Queen, fresh flowers were still being added and the perfume from the flowers was amazing. This was a complete surprise. I had never considered or anticipated such an effect or such a delicate, sweet fragrance.
Over the Jubilee weekend and during the past two weeks, we have heard many tributes to the Queen, epitomized by her life of service and dedication to her people. This has also been a life first and foremost dedicated to God. Her strong Christian belief has shaped her attitudes and given her great wisdom and diplomacy throughout her long reign. The Queen has spoken with sincerity about her Christian faith and how important it has been for her to follow Jesus. At her Coronation, the anointing with oil and invocation of the Holy Spirit was considered too holy a moment to televise, but this sacred moment encapsulates her calling. Her conduct from then on bears witness to a life well lived in humble submission to almighty God with the help of the Holy Spirit. She leaves behind her a clear message of how faith in Jesus can be relevant and vital to life today, the aroma of the knowledge of Jesus to be spread everywhere.
Paul spoke to the Corinthians about the spread of the Gospel as a sweet aroma to bring life and hope to those who listened and received it. We too are called to be and to share that same sweet aroma of Christ in our daily lives. We do not share the word of God for profit. We speak with sincerity so that those around us may also experience hope and life in all its fulness.
A Prayer Heavenly Father, may we share the sweet fragrance of Jesus with those that we meet,
that they may receive the gift of new life in Christ.
May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place, Graham Kendrick