Many of the stores here have an open concept, where the walls to the outside are actually doors that open. The various store owners, put their wares for sale out for all to see and some, put out scents that I believe they think will draw in the passer by. One such store, a man’s clothing store I can smell a block away. Innocently walking down the street and BAM suddenly I am attacked by the overpowering scent of cologne that reminds me of Drakar and Polo for men in the 80s. Once the barrage to my senses wears off I smile and know that my eyes are about to feast upon men’s clothing as bold as the scent that had just accosted me.
Paul says that we are the aroma of Christ. Jesus says that those who believe are the light of the world. Both light and scent tell the story of a make-up of the object. Light shines and welcomes and displays, scent tells you whether or not food has gone bad or if the man in front of you has decided to purchase his clothing at a certain Altean clothing establishment.
Think of the analogies for those who believe and follow the way of Jesus, salt, light, aroma… we are the senses of the Kingdom in this world. Those who believe are to be a glimpse of the Kingdom and King to which they belong. We cannot gain the scent by simply an making an ascent to a certain religious belief. But like the scent of a house after a family has lived in it for years, we can, in time, and with connection with Jesus take on His scent, His light and His taste. When we are with Him, when our thoughts about Him and our study of Him turn to connection with and ultimately unity with Him, others can pick up His character when they are around us, through their senses.
It is for us to become people for whom loving and kindness and generosity are natural, rather than people who have a practiced studied way of life, where habits imitate the habits of the one they’d like to emulate, but are not natural. Our senses can pick out a phony in a hot second. Have you ever smelled a really bad imitation of a perfume or a candle? Oh man, there is not much worse than the horrific scent of plastic mixed with chemicals pretending to be something sweet and good.
My hope is that we, who follow Jesus, be people who, because of our scent, draw others to Him. Not because we follow rules correctly, but because we have spent such good time with Him that we have become like Him and others see, hear, smell, taste and touch Him in us.
As I sit in my favorite little seaside cafe and the scent of coffee and sea fill the air around me, I am thankful… and hopeful that my being here adds the scent of the Kingdom to which I belong.