Tuesday, February 06, 2007

a pleasing aroma

over the last few days, i've been studying the significance of words like "fragrance" and "aroma" in scripture. i'm intrigued by a verse in the new testament that says "we are to God the aroma of Christ..." (2Corinthians 2:15)

the old testament is filled with various offerings that were made to God. the burnt offerings were called a "pleasing aroma" or "pleasing fragrance" to God. but why? why was it pleasing? i found one study that said "this positive imagery of scent represents God's satisfaction in experiencing proper worship of Him". maybe this is why God didn't look favorably on Cain's offering (Genesis 4:5)

Another source said that "fragrance... was an expression of worship & devotion; well-pleasing to God".

So it isn't the fragrance itself that's pleasing, it's the source (genuine worship) that makes it pleasing. So if we are the "aroma of Christ"... we carry His fragrance, His worship - the worship of ultimate sacrifice.

And why fragrance? Why not a touch, or taste? Why the sense of smell? I started thinking about the significance of smell, of scent and here's what I came up with (feel free to agree or disagree)

1) smells often (or at least sometimes) create an emotional reaction. The reaction often comes from a memory, which is also triggered by smell. For example, when I was growing up, my grandparents lived on a farm. My grandpa had a workshop where he made wooden things - chairs, tables, stooles, etc. To this day, the smell of sawdust or wood takes me back to those days in my grandpa's shop. I immediately feel nostalgic, warm, and safe. I always felt warm and safe in my grandpa's workshop.

2)smells are often associated with specific things. this is closely tied to #1. The memories triggered by smell are often very specific. For instance, an old roommate of mine used to always wear a certain perfume. Though we haven't been roommates for close to 5 years, I still think of her everytime I smell that perfume. It doesn't matter how many other women I know who wear it, it always reminds me of her.

3)smells permeate everything. I love incense. I burn it in my room alot. If I burn A LOT of it, I notice that my clothes start to smell like incense. Smell can get into the very fiber of things. Similarly, as we are continually exposed to Jesus, we begin to take on His fragrance, and will eventually begin to emit the same fragrance. As we spend more and more time around those who don't know Jesus, His fragrance (which is now ours) will begin to settle on those people, too. It says a lot about the importance of personal relationships. If you want to put perfume on a friend, you have to be close enough to her to do it. So it is with the fragrance of Christ.


Anonymous Jen said...

this entry smells so good. being a slightly quirky one who loves to smell everything all the time, i appreciate your study of smells and Jesus. because i love both. Jesus more than smells though. what do you think Jesus smelled like? patchouli or hay or old birkenstocks? or cinnamon? hmmm...but really, how wonderful the idea to be the aroma of Christ to others (and have a bit of his dust too!)...see u at toast...

10:49 PM  
Blogger Tads said...

This is a great post... I really enjoy your insight on this topic. I am a worship leader and I believe that the sense of hearing is also used in our church to please the heart of God. The sense of smell was used to please the heart of God in the OT. It is amazing how God can be pleased at all with our worship, however it is in those senses he is praised. "He inhabits the praises of his people."

11:12 AM  

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