The Fragrance of God’s people

Recently, I walked to the higher reaches of the River Allen to a place beyond where most visitors usually go. I’ve hated going to this place for many years. Everywhere the steep banks of this gorge have been covered with dense plantations of fir trees, planted so closely that all the undergrowth beneath had died back to nothing. It was dark. A cold dark place. It gave me the ‘creeps’. I sensed a smell of death and despair in the landscape of the area long before I knew anything about its history.

This was a place of lead mining. Down this steep gorge the miners would stumble in the pitch dark of icy winter mornings, working long hours, deep under the ground with poison fumes and poisonous substances where life-threatening accidents occurred. Life expectancy for a miner was thirty-two years. Children as young as three were employed here and died. This was a place of hopelessness, poverty, terrible exploitation and death.

But now there is transformation! The atmosphere has changed. That feeling of hovering death has gone. There is light, and sunshine! The dark woods have been felled and removed – and in its place the wild garlic has returned. The steep slopes are now a deep green ankle-high carpet of wild garlic leaves, fragrant with its all-pervasive rare scent.

The sense of smell is the most evocative of all our senses. Smell also matters to God.

God loves the smell of incense. The special bread laid out in the Tabernacle every week was to be laced with incense so that, as God remembered His people whom He loves, He smelt the heady perfume of who they were to Him (Leviticus 24:7).

Israel disobeyed God and were taken into captivity, but God had a promise for them:

“I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations.” (Ezekiel 20:41).

St Paul reminds us that, as God’s people, we should be bringing the ‘aroma of Christ’, the unmistakeable presence of our God, with us into the godless world in which we live (2 Corinthians 2:15).

This aroma is more like an atmosphere. Wherever we go, we will take an atmosphere with us. If we are walking with Jesus, that atmosphere should reflect His compassion, His mercy, His forgiveness, His character, His life in me - a fragrant incense to our Heavenly Father. I find this a real challenge.

Prayer: God, my Father, will You so fill me with Your Spirit and teach me so to walk in Your ways that, wherever I am, I become to You and to those around me that intensely precious aroma of Your Son in my life. Amen.


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Ezekiel 20:41, NIV


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Today's Writer

Sue Griffiths Sue found deep inner healing through the teaching and ministry at Ellel ministries and is now part of the associate ministry team at Ellel Grange. Previously, Sue was a specialist in English Literature and a vicar’s wife. Her passion is to see others coming into freedom in Christ in their personal lives. Sue’s an outdoors person, loves gardening, walking, and many creative things. She and Richard, her husband, now live in Northumberland and enjoy a great family of 3 grown up kids and some grandkids.

Sue Griffiths

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