It’s just a random trip to Kroger’s. And as I’m apt to do I peruse the clearance items and, lo and behold, I see Old Spice deodorant on sale. I open it and take in the familiar fragrance. I tear up remembering that’s how my Dad used to smell. I don’t think he wears that now, but as he and my mother face deteriorating health and financial issues I know he is not long for the world. He is not “churched” but over my time in the ministry he asks me questions. On Sunday’s when the family gathers, he wants to know what I preached on. I wish he knew Jesus and understood what a life of faith can mean.
We attended when I was young, but stopped along the way. So I have no real memory of VBS, Sunday school, and knowing a pastor. I find sometimes I am angry at him for not raising us (I have two brothers, unchurched) in the faith, but that’s life. I have made peace with him and forgiven him. The smell brings me back to memories of my Dad in a suit leaving for work as we got ready for school I think why the memory is so strong is because for about the last 20 years he’s been in real estate. No suit no set hours, and for him not much joy.
My uncle’s on his side of the family are religious and attend church and so did my grandparents on his side. I end up feeling kind of sorry for him, and my Mom, for what could be. Do you have family like that? So, anyway, a smell brings back a memory. Life is like that. Our senses are alive and often we pick up a familiar smell, sight, taste or touch and have a wonderful memory to go with that. I loved the smell of fresh bed sheets hanging on the line on a summer day for an example. As we travel through Lent, remembering our sin, we ask God for that forgiveness and grace in Christ. The fresh smells of spring remind us of the new growth and hope in Jesus Christ. And we carry on…knowing Jesus as “light of the World” for all those who travel in darkness. (John 9:5).
Peace be with you, Pastor Doug
I wonder why we pinch people who are not wearing green today, St. Patrick’s Day. Was that invented by 11 year olds (like mine) who would enjoy the search and pinch mission? I found out the color of green is important to the Irish people because it represents their land and heritage. Under English rule, they weren’t allowed to wear any green and could have been killed for it. So after that was over the pinch became a teasing sort of substitute. And the green beer will flow tonight and some fountains or rivers will turn green. Indianapolis has a long history of a St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown.
We still have places in the world where you could not wear a cross, and if you did you might be killed. How do we show our faith? I’ve often thought that our Christian symbol should not be the symbol of death, like the cross, but an open tomb. I don’t suppose that works very well on a necklace but it’s just an idea. In this Lenten season we tend to move away from thinking about the open tomb…but it’s ok to, it is the greatest aspect of our faith life. I have a sticker on my car that says “God rules” and I have the fish emblem on the back of my car. Did you hear about the woman who was at a stoplight and when the car in front of her did not move on a green light she began to beat on her steering wheel and honk her horn. She rolled down the window and cussed up a storm! A police officer pulled her over and asked if she had stolen the car. Exasperated, she said that she had not that it was her car. He said “Well, I figured you’d stolen it with the way you acted toward that car in front of you back at the light. You see, I was behind you and saw your “Jesus loves you” bumper sticker and cross emblem and I figured you must have stolen the car.” Don’t we want to make sure what we wear on the outside reflects our inside?
Nicodemus is my favorite Bible story. John 3:1-17 is the Gospel lesson this Sunday for the Second Sunday in Lent. “Nic at Night” comes at night to find out from Jesus something about this faith. Their dialogue leads to John 3:16 which we all know so well. What is fascinating about Nic is that “wears his faith” later in front of others in chapter 7 of John. Nicodemus listens to his colleagues threaten to jail Jesus and he asks the question about having a trial before someone is found guilty. Later in chapter 28 it is Nic who joins Joseph or Arimathea at the cross to take down the body of Jesus. And Nic brings with him, according to the Gospel of John 100 pounds of spices! Wow…think about it…not only is that incredibly expensive but heavy to move. And how many pounds of that is needed to anoint a body? 10? 15 pounds? Even that seems high…but 100!!! Nicodemus wears his faith right out for everyone to see and I’ll bet (while there is no known record what happened to him) he went on after the resurrection happier, joyful and more fulfilled.
You may or may not have green on, but join me in making sure we have our faith “on”! It is our heritage of the life in Christ!
God Bless you!