You know sometimes you’re walking down the street and you pass someone and as you do so, you get a heavy waft of their perfume or aftershave of choice? There are some people who would be able to identify the name of said fragrance, I just think things like, ‘how nice’, or, ‘where are you going smelling like that?!’ I’m a bit rubbish at remembering to slap on vast quantities of aftershave, but there are some people who are pretty good at it (I’ve only recently finished the aftershave I was given as a thankyou for being best man at my brother’s wedding, 15+ years ago…). But it can be nice having a waft (assuming you like the particular smell!) as you pass someone or engage in conversation with them.
And last week at youth group, we were looking at the Beatitudes, which is basically a list of things that Jesus talks about. He says people are ‘blessed’ when they do these things. And I don’t think it’s exactly a reward for good behaviour, but rather a consequence of living right. They’re not all easy things, either. They’re things like mourning the state of our world, and being persecuted for righteousness. (Note – ‘for righteousness’ there. Persecution for being an idiot is excluded here!) You do these things, and blessing will come. And I was thinking about that wafting fragrance that you get from walking past people, and thinking how sometimes I’d be happy to double back and walk past them again for another lungful (though they might think that was a bit weird). And I thought to myself, that fragrance is something you get from being close to that person. The closer you get, the more powerful the smell (please don’t test that theory on strangers). And I thought that’s a bit like the Beatitudes. They’re basically doing stuff like Jesus does, getting closer to Him in the process, and the closer we get to Him, the greater the blessing. Sometimes we’ll do one of the things Jesus talks about in the Beatitudes and we’ll realise that, as we drew a bit closer to Jesus, we got a waft of His fragrance – we got a lungful of the sweet smell of Christ. What a blessing.
What are you breathing in these days?