The holiday season is fast approaching. We have already experienced a change in the weather, and soon our senses will be filled with all the sights and sounds that make this time of year memorable and special. As one who loves to cook and bake, I’m also excited about the plethora of pleasant aromas with which this season presents us. When we think about the smell of roasting turkey in the oven, or fresh baked cookies cooling on the counter, or that first bite of warm pumpkin pie, our minds are often transported back to family gatherings and times of seasonal celebration.
Fragrance serves as a powerful bookmark for our memories. Often our recollection of past events is accompanied by a certain aroma, and if we happen upon that particular scent we will suddenly find ourselves remembering, with great detail, events of our past which, up to that point, were long forgotten. According to the website HowStuffWorks, not only does smell serve as a bookmark for our memories but it also can provide a powerful link back to our emotional state at the time the memory was created. These emotional links begin forming even while we are still in the womb.
God, being our creator, knew that certain smells would evoke certain memories and emotions. Perhaps this is why, when providing the instructions for temple worship, He directed Moses and Aaron to follow a specific recipe when crafting the oil for anointing and the incense for burning, and commanded them to not make it for any other purpose other than worship (Ex. 30.22-38). The fragrances of those items were to be set apart and special. When those aromas arose, the people would know that God was involved. God wanted a link forged between His people and the work He was doing in their midst, so whenever they encountered that scent they would be reminded of Him. If they used it for any other purpose then the link would be broken and they might associate that smell with people or events which were far from God’s purposes.
We often focus on sight and sound to help us remember the truth found in the gospel, but knowing that smell plays an important role in recollection and knowing that it was an intentional part of temple worship, should we look for ways to incorporate aroma into our times of worship – whether personal or corporate? Or perhaps the point is less about using the faculty of scent and more about keeping parts of our worship sacred and set apart from everything else. What unique links might we forge between us and our times of worship such that they remain sacred and set apart from our everyday experience?
NEWS & NOTES:
Saturday, November 11th -- our Christmas Plugged set-up date. If you are interested in assisting us in hanging the lights on our building, we will begin around 8am and breakfast sandwiches will be provided for all those in attendance.
Sunday, November 19th -- our Thanksgiving service. In addition to our praise team, our children and adult vocal teams will be featured in our morning worship, and we will follow the service with a potluck meal. Make sure to join us.
Friday, November 24th – our nightly “Christmas Plugged” synchronized light show begins
Sunday, December 3rd – our annual “Hanging of the Green” service. If you would like to offer a song, in either a solo, duet, or ensemble fashion, please notify Jonathan as soon as possible. We would like to have our program scheduled no later than November 22nd.
That’s all for now. In the spirit of the season allow me to close with a word of Thanksgiving. Many of you went out of your way to demonstrate your love, support, and encouragement to me and my family during Pastor Appreciation month. Whether it was a card, a gift, or a simple word of thanks, your care for us was felt, and we want to express to you how grateful we are to serve such a kind, compassionate, and supportive family. You mean more to us than you will ever know.
May God continue to add His blessing to Rose of Sharon Baptist, and may you and yours find new and exciting ways to worship Him.
In His Service,