As we journey into Lent, we are called to continually shape-and be shaped-into the likeness of Jesus the Christ. We say that “God was in Jesus”, but really don’t take thought to what that means.
Jesus was fully human and fully divine. He was a man who was so full of the Divine that you can say he reeked of God. Jesus was infused with God that permeated his entire being. When Jesus was around, even the blind knew God was in him (re: Mark 10:46). Jesus was so soaked and immersed in the Divine, that you couldn’t separate them. The “smell” of God was on Jesus.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV).
Yes, God has Her unique smell-just like each of us. When we allow God to permeate our lives, like He did with Jesus, we too can give off the Divine odor. However, how we smell depends on who’s around us.
God can be a pleasing aroma. To those who are open to the Divine, God can smell real sweet, appetizing, or attracting-like those who wanted to learn from Jesus in the Gospels. What smells good to you? Good perfume/cologne? How about good food? The bouquet of fine wines, or the heady aroma of ale? How about flowers in the spring? Or the fresh country air with the scent of meadow grass? These scents can attract us.
However, God can be like my little friend in the above photo-a stinker. To the religious elites in Jesus’ era, the smell of God stank to them. Love without condition, the universality of God’s salvation, honoring the marginalized-all that stunk to those who were in power. Also God’s smell can repel-repelling those who don’t want to share in the Divine love, or try to keep other from it. Repels because it overpowers.
But even stink can be good. For my little friend above, skunk scent glands protect from predators. Onions, anchovies and Feta cheese may not make your list for perfumes individually; toss them into a Greek salad and you’ll have a delicious combination.
That’s my Lenten thought for today. Let’s open ourselves up to God as Jesus did, and let Him/Her permeate our total being. Let’s get immersed in the Divine and reek of God, so others will know that God is in and with us.
Peace this Lenten season.