It’s no secret that I am in love with this season. October in particular. The chill of the fall, with its shorter days and falling leaves. And the colors. The golds, crimsons, reds, browns of the falling leaves are a feast for the eyes. The trees in all this color-filled are reaching to heaven, another great sight.
The sounds are amazing too. Leaves crunching under my feet. The noise of harvest as the farmers around us bring in their crops. The change from t-shirts to sweaters and sweatshirts. From cool drinks to warm teas.
But the smells of autumn are the best. Smell is one of our most powerful senses, connected to our subconscious memory in a way that our other senses are not. The smells of pumpkin, apples, peaches, and other vegetables are a delightful aroma.
When Paul calls the Corinthian Christians “the fragrance of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 2: 15, NASB) I marvel at the metaphor. Although their relationships were difficult and their circumstances trying, he envisioned them as a victorious parade wafting the incense of grace wherever they went.
Maybe today you’re thinking that you would be the fragrance of Christ, except you’re heartbroken. Or you’re longing for something that isn’t and may never be. Or you’re sick. Or someone you love is. Or you’ve lost someone immeasurably precious to you. Or you’ve messed up. Big-time.
If that’s what you’re thinking, the gospel contains better news for you than you could ever imagine: through the triumph of Christ, our emptiness can become abundance; our helplessness can become hope; and our failures can be exchanged for forgiveness, time and time again.
Peter denied Jesus right after he boasted to his Master, “I would die for you.” What kind of God would accept such miserable failure? Our GOD! Through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, our failures become acceptable, and our shame survivable.
Like Peter, we can move from failure to forgiveness. Because we are the fragrance of Christ. Empty, helpless, ashamed . . . we are the fragrance of Christ. His presence is the divine alchemy that makes a beautiful aroma of our suffering and shame and spreads the sweet knowledge of him in every place.
Today, may his presence create an unforgettable fragrance in you.
Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. 2 CORINTHIANS 2: 14-16, MSG
What aspects of autumn are you in love with?