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)
1 Peter 3:13-4:6
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