2 Corinthians 2: 12 – 17 When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.
Reflection As someone who has been blind from birth, fragrance is important. It is often said that the other senses of someone without sight are sharpened. This has been proved not to be the case. However, I probably use the senses I have in a different, possibly more productive way.
Paul begins this passage by explaining his reasons for not staying in Troas. A door has been opened for him, but Titus isn’t there. Paul doesn’t consider himself a one man show, and moves on to depict himself as a soldier in an army in which Christ is the general.
If a general had won a major battle, he was given a triumph in Rome. Soldiers and prisoners alike were marched through the streets, and incense was burned. For the soldiers, it signified victory, and for the prisoners, captivity, and possibly death.
When you enter a church, do you smell the fragrance of Jesus. It is intangible, and undefinable, but comes from our behaviour as people of Christ. If I had to define the smell, it would be paraffin, which was always burnt at home when I was a child. The overarching point here is that fragrance has different associations for different people, and as we struggle to comfort the homeless, provide courage and hope for those who are sick, and give comfort to those who are bereaved, exuding that fragrance is of great importance.
Prayer Lord God, Enable us through the power of your spirit to exude the fragrance of life, hope, love, and comfort. May our churches be churches where those who enter smell the fragrance of life and victory over death. Through this fragrance, we might bring more people to you, such that the fragrance of Jesus may fill our hearts, our churches, and the places in which we live. Amen.
David Reynolds is a serving elder at Cores End URC, Bucks
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