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.
- 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
It amazes me that in the midst of a global pandemic, which has drastically affected and changed sooooooooo many aspects of our lives, flowers are still blooming in rich and varied colors, ... and that during a challenging time like we're facing now in our nation, with deep-seated frustrations erupting and senseless violence occurring and groups getting further polarized, their beautiful and intoxicating fragrances can still fill a room. The question is, "Can we stop and notice?"Because with too much to do, and not enough time to do it, ... with so many demands and obligations and commitments pressing on us, ... and with the problems of this world seeming sooooooooo large, the obstacles sooooooooo big, the divisions sooooooooo deep ... who has the time "to stop and smell the roses?" But everyone once and a while, maybe it's exactly the thing we need to do.The Jewish Rabbi and family therapist Edwin Friedman coined the term "non-anxious presence" to describe individuals who can avoid being drawn into the fray of anxiety swirling all around them and provide a calm, cool, focused, and collected environment that empowers others to be relaxed. And I think it's safe to say that there is A LOT of anxiety swirling around us these days - in our homes and families, ... in our work places, ... in our communities, ... in our politics, … and in our nation. We can sense our muscles tightening, … our jaws clenching, ... and our blood pressure rising as the anxiety of those around us creeps into our minds and bodies and hooks us emotionally, ... and physically, ... and even spiritually. Therefore, I believe, what we need now more than ever are more people who can serve as a "non-anxious presence."So, when things start to get overwhelming, when your life begins to feel too complicated, when the stresses seem to become too much to bear, make the conscious choice to stop for a moment and just do the little and most basic things:
* find the beauty, value, and worth all around you
* count your blessings
* do a good job at whatever you do
* don't try to be more (or less)
than the person God created you to be
* love your family with everything you are
(and not all you can buy them)
* look for what's good & right & true
* don't give up on dreaming and thinking of what could beThe problems and obstacles and divisions will still be there afterwards, … but you'll be different. You'll have regained at least a little sense of perspective and calm. And who knows, maybe by periodically "stopping to smell the roses," you can become that much needed "non-anxious presence" to those around, and, in the word's of today's Scripture passage, you can help the comfort and peace and love of the "aroma of Christ" can fill the room.
-- Pastor Micah
In this spirit, I'm inviting you to take part in our:
"Aroma of Comfort & Peace"