I read the other day that dairy promoters are putting up special signs at bus shelters in San Francisco. On the signs are the words, â€œGot Milk?â€ What is unusual about the signs is that they
have put scent strips on them that create the smell of freshly baked
cookies. The idea is that as people are
waiting for the bus and smelling the aroma of freshly baked cookies, they will
want a cold glass of milk. Hmmm.
Nice try. Who knows?
Maybe it will work. I know one
thing for sure: I am attracted to the
scent of cookies baking in the oven. What
an aroma! Think chocolate chip. Sugar cookies. Oatmeal raisin.
Maybe the promoters are right. They are counting on people smelling the scent of freshly baked cookies and wanting milk. Perhaps people catch a whiff of our lives and it reminds them of something — or someone.
This happened last Sunday morning in our church. A father told me earlier in the week, "I need the church to pray for our family on Sunday." This family had been in a crisis that week. Their son (just out of high school) had been involved in breaking into and vandalizing a nearby high school. Security cameras caught them and the film was broadcast throughout our area on the local news. Then, the boys, escorted by their parents, turned themselves in to the police.
At one moment during our Sunday morning gathering, this entire family, including the young man, sat on the front row asking the church to pray for them. I watched people (about 75 to 80) get up from their seats and come to the front to join them. Most of our youth group stood around this young man. I read a statement from this family. The statement was candid regarding the incident. No excuses, blaming, etc. Yet, they also declared their desire as a family to love their son through it all.
So — we prayed.
I sat down after praying and watched as person, after person, after person hugged each member of this family. I watched as those in our high school group hugged this young man. At the conclusion of our assembly, I watched as still more people came to hug this family — grandparents, other moms and dads, and more teens.
Last Sunday morning, I caught the whiff of a scent that reminded me of Jesus. The love and compassion of these people reminded of what we are called to be as a church. It was a wonderful aroma. I left that morning wanting more.
What was the aroma? The living presence of Jesus at work in a group of people. It reminded me of Paul’s statement many years ago in which he said, "…For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life…" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Can you think of a moment when you knew you had caught a whiff of the aroma of Christ? Can you think of a moment that was particularly meaningful to you?
(You may recall a post I did recently in which I mentioned a wonderful book entitled Pilgrim Heart by Darryl Tippens. Last evening, Darryl posted a comment on that post. You might enjoy reading this.)