pale petals silky soft : delightful aroma open hearts and senses : steep the heavens in sweet sacrifice
Today we had a visitor to our church. He walked in off the street, unkempt, no shirt and with a look of sadness and distress on his face. He sat discreetly at the back of the congregation. After a few minutes, when we were about to launch into our first song, he approached the pulpit to speak to the worship leader.
One of the men of the congregation took him outside and talked with him. Our visitor had wasted himself last night and wanted money. Trev sat with him and talked with him for most of the service, offering to go with him to buy him food and a meal, which was rejected.
After they went outside, I was left with a very vivid impression: the smell of alcohol and stale tobacco lingered for a long while after they left building.
I had an uncle who was an alcoholic and who died of alcohol related problems when he was in his mid fifties. When I was with him, the impression was the same: despair and hopelessness. He too would accept no practical help, even from his sister on his death-bed.
Like the smell, the effects of misusing alcohol, tobacco and drugs linger. But the effects do not dissipate as quickly and easily as the odour. The effects are often life-long and life-threatening in the form of lung, liver and heart disease and the damage done to the brain when used long term.
Here is that concept again: juxtaposition.
When we place the odour of alcohol and stale tobacco and its long-lingering effects against the fragrant offerings to God, there is such a contrast. God was pleased when Christ ‘loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ Ephesians 5
He was pleased with the fragrant offerings, gifts given to the apostle Paul by the people of the Philippian church. Philippians 4
And when Noah offered a sacrifice after docking on dry land when the flood had subsided, God smelled the pleasing aroma. Genesis 8
Would that the Spirit of God intervene in the life of our visitor so he can be of sound mind and body, offering himself to God as a living sacrifice, a sweet smelling aroma, holy and acceptable to God. Romans 12