Friday, November 1, 2013

Fragrance of Memories

A rose is as good a symbol as any to depict our title. "Fragrance of Memories" is a phrase used by our founding pastor in several of his sermons.  He was referring to how fond memories can be much like the pleasant scent of a flower.

As we get into that thought, it's also a way of sliding a little technical news into an otherwise spiritual post. We've changed the commenting system, here on the blog.  We had started with the native commenting system, which worked well.  

More recently, it became possible to use posts and comments from Google+.  We did that in the hopes of seeding more discussion, here on the blog.  That varied, over time, in how it worked and required a Google+ ID. That left two choices. Don't comment or leave the blog to create a G+ ID, then return to comment. Both are very counterproductive to stimulating discussion.  Most people wouldn't come back to comment, others don't want to sign up for Google+.  So, we needed a good alternative. which we'll share, after the break.

Briefly, we narrowed our choice down to Disqus.  If you comment on other blogs, you've seen that name before.  Disqus is the most popular of all the 3rd party discussion systems, by a huge margin. And it allows signing up as you prepare to comment.  Much better than sending people away.  If you've created a Disqus account anywhere or have an ID on any of the major social networks, you can just sign in and comment.  A Disqus ID is valid on any blog that uses Disqus.  There is an option to comment as an anonymous guest, but we're still considering whether or not to turn that on, here.  And, though comments posted while we were using the G+ commenting system are now only viewable on G+, the lost older comments are now back.  So, all those fragrances of memory are still viewable somewhere.


Genesis 8:21 (KJV)  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 

That verse follows one speaking of Noah building an altar and offering a proper sacrifice to God.  The proper thoughts and actions on our part change a stench to a sweet savor.  Take a look at another passage in Job 14.

Job 14:7-9 (KJV)  For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.  Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. 

The "scent of water" will allow it to grow.  If we've seen plant shoots, in some cases they can be near water and water vapor is sufficient to spur root growth toward the water till they can actually gain life from the water itself.  There is a fragrance of memory that draws them toward the source.

If we've ever walked through a neighborhood on a holiday, each house or apartment will give off odors from the cooking of the various national heritages involved.  As we pass by, those scents will trigger memories of past events.  So, we may pass a Latino home and the scents will remind us of a dinner at a mexican restaurant with a spouse or date.  The smell of a turkey roasting will bring back memories of family gatherings.  Or the scent of a flower, like the rose at the beginning of this post, might bring back particularly strong emotional memories of an important time with a significant other. Science says there are definite ties between our sense of smell and memories of past events. There is a fragrance of memories.

Our relationship with God and others works much in the same way.  Notice that Genesis 8:20-21 depicts Noah doing something that, in God's mind, creates a good odor that replaces a bad smell created by man's sin.  A bad smell that God can't be near.  But.  Yes, there is a but.

Song of Songs 2:1 (KJV)  I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. 

Theologians agree that the "rose of Sharon" refers to Jesus.  Think about that in light of what we've been saying.  Who Jesus is and what He's done replace the stench of sin with a sweet savor. Instead of some gross thought coming out of the scent of sin, the Father smells a flowered fragrance that reminds Him of His love for His Son and for us.

That's another of those "Wow!" moments.  Because the moment we accept what Christ did for us, the sweet smell of the rose of Sharon replaces the foul odor of sin.  Sure, we're like that sprout in Job 14, reaching toward the Living Water, sin sometimes still getting in the way.  But every time we repent, that sin is replaced by the wonderful scent of the rose of Sharon with the fragrance of memory of who we are in Him.  For God, His memory says we have that fragrance, not the stench of sin.  And, when we realize that, it's totally freeing!  Jesus' actions have replaced the ones we could never properly perform on our own.

That doesn't mean we can live in sin and still be saved.  A life filled with sin will keep our salvation in question.  Were we aiming at God or just away from the consequences of sin?  At the same time, having a relationship with God doesn't mean we won't fail.  But, continually facing God, even with moments needing repentance, allows a life of joy.  The Spirit will draw the aroma of the rose of Sharon around us.  Our oneness with the Son will envelope us.  And the Father will have only memories of who we are in our relationship with Him.  The fragrance of memory.  That's exciting!

Don't forget to make use of our new commenting system to tell us how you're reveling in the fragrance of memory.

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