2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NRSV)
14 But 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. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.
Our Lenten practice for today is more a way of being than a practice. Our passage reads, “We are the aroma of Christ.” Isn’t this a beautiful description- and a vivid image for us to live by? We are the essence, the fragrance, the gently permeating aroma of Christ!
We can all think of delightful smells that enhance our moments. The evergreen scent of a Christmas tree. The sweet aroma of cookies baking. The clean fragrance of a loved one’s cologne. The woodsy smell of a campfire. The floral scent of my grandmother’s hand cream. The fresh, earthy smell of a rainfall.
Aromas have a gentle, subtle way of influencing and blessing us. Our sense of smell bolsters our taste and sight. A certain fragrance can bring back treasured memories of years past. A lingering scent helps keep warm feelings with us a bit longer.
But there are other aromas, too. When Jim had his open-heart surgery, many people used hand-sanitizing lotions as a precaution against infection. This smell now makes him cringe! The mere scent stirs up memories of his pain and nausea of those days.
If we are the aroma of Christ, how should we smell? What type of fragrance do we want to be? Will we be pleasant, fresh, and delightful? Or offensive and overpowering? Will we foster good feelings or will we make people cringe? How will our essence linger with others? Will our aroma remind people of Christ? Will our scent bless and enhance their experience of Christ?
Our symbol is a bottle of cologne. Our essence is the aroma of Christ. May our fragrance gently infuse the atmosphere with love. May our aroma serve to bless people with Christ’s love, enhance their understanding of his presence, and help them to remember him each time they breathe in our lingering scent. Paul says, “In Christ we speak… as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.” Let’s stand in Christ’s presence and allow his essence to surround us today.
May I breathe in Christ’s fragrance and fill with love.
May I stand in Christ’s fragrance and let love surround me.
May I walk with Christ’s fragrance and permeate love in the world.
May I linger as Christ’s fragrance and allow love to remain.