Since I was 1400 miles from Canada and only 1300 miles from Mexico, I opted to go south . . . for about a mile. Within a quarter of a mile I smelled something extremely strong and very familiar, so familiar it took me back forty-seven years to my first job after high school, as a camp counselor up in the Sierras. The smell? Bear clover . . . aka Mountain Misery . . . aka Kitkitdizzi to the Native Americans. The smell was pungent and a bit cloying. To give you an idea of its strength, all of our cabins were named after native flowers––the bathroom/shower house was named kitkitdizzi.
Research has proven that the sense of smell has the strongest connection with memory. I think all of us can attest to that truth. Certain smells take us immediately back to a specific time, location, and emotion.
I guess it is no wonder then that the Bible uses smell to describe what pleases God most. From the burnt offerings of the Israelites which had a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord (Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 1:17), to the end times when the sum total of all of our prayers are “golden bowls of incense” (Revelation 5:8).
But Paul also uses the sense of smell when he reminds the Corinthians that as Christians “we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
In a nutshell, what we do for Christ, how we act, what we say has staying power.
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Photo taken by Francie McGowan