"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered · the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls · bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"
As I was running yesterday, listening to worship music and often singing along through panting breaths, lifting my hands in praise, I was occasionally bombarded by the wafts of lilacs in bloom. It was intoxicating. I instantly wanted to dance, to hug a stranger, to kiss away tears; life was just too grand in that moment - the Spirit too whelming - to be burdened with the worries and fears of this world. It smelled like Heaven on earth. It smelled like the Kingdom of God had fully broken forth into our world and abundant, eternal life was realized.
The apostle Paul illustrates the phenomenon of Christians living out their identity in generous love, describing it as the aroma of Christ (2 Cor. 2:14-16; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 4:18). He most likely associated this aroma with the animal sacrifices made at the Temple, i.e. barbeque. While I love the scent of meat roasting on a fire, this sacrifice of self-denying love toward others seems better suited to be associated with Spring flowers. There is something about the unique sweetness of flowers, paired with the vibrant colors of Spring to usher in the declaration of new life. With God's Kingdom coming, marked by New Life in Christ, I trust the aroma of Christ from His Bride will overpower the stench of death that emits from this evil world.
This is the picture the Spirit gave me as I ran in Christ. As we live out our identity as Christ's spotless Bride, our aroma will captivate those being saved. I pray as we Christians walk in freedom, we will smell the aroma of Christ, and remember the long legacy of the Saints, joining them throughout history in praise to our God, the Redeeming One. Bride, remember His promise to quickly bring justice to His chosen ones. Be diligent in prayer for His Kingdom to reign over the earth. Like a familiar smell can bring back to mind the most ancient of memories, allow your sacrifice to God to be the aroma of Christ, calling to mind the faithfulness and steadfast love of our God, the reason for our devotion, the source of our holiness.