Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


II Corinthians 2:14-17:

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

It's now becoming the time of the year that one of my favorite roadside weeds starts to dot the landscape...chicory. When you ask most people "what chicory smells like," they will tell you sort of an earthy, nutty smell. But they are talking about the ground-up roots. Honestly, most people have never bothered to smell a chicory flower. We drive by perhaps thousands of them en route to work, but never stopped and bent over and actually smelled one, or admired its fragile beauty.

The picture above is one I took of a chicory flower some time back. I've shown that to people and they did not recognize it as a chicory flower...simply because the vantage point of the photo is "up close." Chicory flowers are something we glance at from a distance, and our eyes tend to fill in some little nondescript blue thing without much detail or any colors besides blue.

So, as I pondered this passage yesterday, I was sitting in my yard and saw a little clump of chicory across on the other side of my gravel road--the side I don't mow--and as I pondered what "the aroma of Christ" was like, I started pondering what the aroma of a chicory flower was. I realized I honestly didn't know.

It actually took a few sniffs to discover it.

First my nose was filled with the green smell of the fresh rain from earlier. Then I could smell a green earthiness--kind of a faint oregano smell--of the leaves. But it took a while to smell the flower itself, which carried the air of a faint, light, sweetness--so light, the rest of the plant, and the smell of the roadside itself easily overpowered it.

I pondered the passage some more. I walked back across the gravel road and smelled some more. Back and forth a couple of times or so. The smell of the chicory flower became easier to detect each time I tried. Eventually, it was easy.

I thought for a while about how seeing Christ in everyone we meet is so hard. There are so many people that are easy NOT to like. I am sure there are people who can't see Christ in me with a magnifying glass. But maybe we make our mistake by limiting ourselves to "seeing." Maybe we should be smelling.

I thought about some of the people in my life that have taught me the most about being in the presence of God. Most of them are rather...well...earthy people. They are not always physically attractive. They are perhaps a little heavy on the four letter word usage. They are sometimes quite blunt, a little too raucous, a little overpowering. Some are not even very religious. But I'm that way to an extent, too. What I have come to appreciate, what I have come to love about those people is that I discovered Christ living within them because I sat still in their presence, sat in their "now," and over time I saw who they were as children of God. I saw little secret acts of mercy and kindness spring from them. I saw the truth of God in the earnestness of their blunt, unvarnished moments. Many times the presence of God sprang from them when they did not even know it themselves.

I'll be honest, I still can't see Christ in everyone. I probably never will be able to, totally. But I have figured out that some of them, you can't "see" it--you have to sit in their presence and smell it, and I will only smell it if I keep returning to try to pick up the smell.

2 comments:

Wow - this post is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a long time. Such a great lesson and reminder that sometimes we need to just sit in God's presence and let Him whaft to you. Reminds me of Brother Lawrence.

I have a long way to go to be anywhere near the Brother Lawrence pay grade, but it will probably not surprise you that his book "The Practice of the Presence of God" is one of the books I always carry around on my iPad.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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