Friday, November 25, 2011

The Nose Knows!

Psalm 141:2
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

We rely on our five senses to experience the physical world. Sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell. All are important; all work together to create memorable moments.

But, the one sense, often overlooked, which evokes the most powerful memories is smell.

I catch a whiff of freshly mowed hay. I am a little girl again, playing with my cousin, John, on my aunt's and uncle's farm.

I inhale the aroma of roasting turkey. I am sprawled with my brother in front of the television watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Recently, Danny's mother gave him a pack of old-fashioned Clove gum. Immediately, he was transported back to his grandmother's kitchen, watching her make pasta from scratch. She always chewed Clove gum. Even her purse smelled like it!

The ancients understood the power of smell. They burned sweet, fragrant incense to entice God, to arouse His remembrance of them.

Incense is still used in many churches, particularly on high holy days like Easter. For most of my adult life, I attended the Episcopal Church. I cannot light a stick of incense at home without seeing myself, sitting in the pews, observing the thurifer solemnly anointing the altar and the congregation with the pungent, yet pleasant, billows of smoke.

And, in breathing in its scent, the urge to drop to my knees and worship the Lord is overwhelming!

With hands raised, I praise Him. My prayers float up to Him, carried on the wispy clouds of incense.

Remember me, oh, Lord! Remember me!
What smells conjure up precious memories for you?

Will you pray with me?
Thank you, Father, for our five senses that help us explore and understand Your marvelous creation. Thank you for all the special memories they weave for us. May our prayers and praises ever rise sweetly and fragrantly to You. Amen.

Psalms 140, 142 or 141, 143:1-11 (12)
Isaiah 24:14-23
1 Peter 3:13-4:6
Matthew 20:17-28


  1. Memory - is the diary that we all carry about with us...Oscar Wilde.

  2. Oh, Janu, I love that quote! Just perfect for this post today. :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Even though I was raised in a Protestant church, I love going to attend the Holy Eucharist service at a Catholic church to smell the incense and hear the chants. Mesmerizing!

    Other favorite smells which have strong memory anchors for me are the honey, sweet aroma of the butterfly bush in my garden and the soft, newborn smell of a little baby's face ...

  4. Hi, Linda! Thanks for stopping by today!
    Yes, there is nothing quite like a high service in the Catholic or Episcopal church.
    I love your "memory anchors", especially the smell of babies; my little granddaughter still has that fragrance . . .
    Blessings to you!

  5. I have written about My father's shirt and his special Daddy smell.It conjures up precious memories for me.

  6. the smell of the pine a camp fire burning freedom of the mountain meadows god bless

  7. I love burning incense in my home. I didn`t grow up with it but I love it :) Beautiful post Martha!

  8. "Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
    I love the smell of the wet earth after a always appeals to me.

  9. It's so good to see all of you here today! Thanks for stopping by!
    @Sulekkha - What a special memory that is! You reminded me of how my dad always smelled so fresh and good after walking home on a cold day.
    @Roy - I agree; there's not much better than the smell of a campfire.
    @Nelieta - Glad to know someone else enjoys incense as I do!
    @Alpana - What a splendid quote! Hmmm, the smell of the earth after a shower . . . always refreshing!
    Blessings to all!


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