Tonight, as I walked to the gym, the scent of sweet olive surrounded me. I remembered that someone told me that scent meant a cold winter. I certainly hope so. There is something amazing and powerful about scent. There is something about scent that catches one’s attention and evokes emotion, passion and memory.
I notice scents. In particular, I love it when men wear cologne- a good cologne. There is something about a good cologne that makes me smile. A good cologne can make me think of all that I love about men. Of course, it can also make me cringe with memories, but for the most part, I love that smell. You just want to breathe it in.
I often find I want to breathe in the smell of church. There is a particular scent in church. Sometimes it is musty and moldy. Sometimes the smells are lilies, incense, smoke or olive oil. All these scents blend together. Some notes of the fragrance are stronger than others at times. Together, this scent signifies life.
Each scent evokes an emotion, passion, a memory. The scent encourages us to breathe it in, to take that life into ourselves. Each scent is attached to a part of the living organism – the Church. Parts of her are being born. Parts are dying. Parts are healing. Parts are renewing. Each has a scent.
So what does your church smell like? Is it alive? Do you long to breathe it in? Or do we try to scrub and wipe away all those different scents? Does our church exude a terrible odor? What does our scent signify? What does our scent evoke in the world?
I hope that our scent, the scent of the Church, is a fragrance unlike any other. Not overpowering, but alluring and lasting, drawing each one of us ever closer to the fragrant offering of life.