Fragrance or Miasma

It’s still here. The miasma. 

I staggered out to the kitchen this AM and my nose confirmed the fact. It’s too cold outside to keep the windows open for great lengths of time so this stench  may linger for a bit.

A few months back our youngish pastor Landon was sharing on Sunday morning. He has a wonderful way with metaphors and draws pictures that stay with me for a long time. Landon is such an afficenado of  coffee that he roasts his own beans.

 Recently a friend visited him and said, “Oh, you’ve been roasting coffee again.”   As there were no visible signs of the process  Landon asked, “What makes you think that?”  “Easy, I can smell the aroma of coffee on you.”

Later that week, while Landon was preparing his talk for us he thought of that. How wonderful it would be if  people would be able to say, “Oh, I can tell  you’ve been spending time with Jesus.. You’re wearing his fragrance.” 

That has stayed with me – I do so want to carry the fragrance of the Lord into our often divided, hurt and lost world. My husband once bought me a bottle of my favorite perfume Pure by Alfred Sung. Just a little dab of it and the scent wafted around me all day. My hope is that as the church spends time in the Lord’s presence we will increasingly become a fragrant offering. 

As for the scent in my kitchen, well it’s a bit of a story. There has to be some sort of upside to this Covid 19 enforced downtime. I’m using it as a way to better get to know some of the neighbors, who are now off work.  Although I was in the middle of trying out  a new recipe  I thought I could nip out to the mailbox and post a letter. A neighbor was on her deck and we started chatting. It was lovely to get to know her a bit better. Until I remembered the bacon. 

I opened the door to a cloud of choking grey smoke. The grease in the pan was probably seconds away from bursting into flame.  The dog would no doubt say, if he could, “ Tis an ill wind that blows no good.” He spent half an hour happily gnawing into the charred remains. Back to aromas. I’m not sure what inspired this. It’s usually an event of some sort or just a thought or phrase that pops into my mind.  In this case I think it was these 2 verses in 2 Corinthians 2. 15 & 16.   Some people, possibly legitimately so, are hostile to any idea of a God who might be in charge of the universe. So what inspires joy in me can inspire fury and contempt in others. Thus, this.


I am banished from the garden
by an angel with a sword,
that he brandishes to keep me
from the presence of the Lord.

I have tried a hundred potions
sweet incense and sacred lotions.
Yet nothing takes me to the place
where I can meet Him face to face.

And you have the gall to tell me
only blood will please your God,
from a pure and spotless lamb?
That seems primitive and odd.

And yet, if I am honest
I will tell you that I smell
a stench of death about you
that is either heaven or hell.
The stench of death surrounds you,
my flesh and soul recoil,
but I also catch a faint whiff
of a pungent bracing oil.

Like a breeze that carries memories
of a sweet and fragrant place,
where God and man were intimate
conversing face to face.

2 thoughts on “Fragrance or Miasma

  1. Loved the comment from Landon that you shared. Had to look up the meaning of miasma, thanks, Lois! Just noticed two typos you might want to correct: incense and fragrance. Love you, Lois!


    1. Thank you so much. I rewrote this late last night when it looked like Facebook had expunged it. I had no other record of it so was typing rather furiously – and carelessly. Alas I cannot repair the copy on FB so I am stuck with those errors. Ouch – my pride!


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