It’s this time of year that the Indiana farmers I pastored started getting restless and itchy. They knew winter was far from over, but they longed to get back on their tractors and turn some dirt over. It wasn’t until later March that one or two brave souls would hook up their discs to the back of a tractor and head out into their fields, only to break through the dirt into bottomless goo. And they would bring the story to church on the next Sunday about how so-and-so went out early and got stuck.
But when the time came that the soil would support the load of the tractor and implements, a sweet smell permeated the entire community of Lafayette; fresh soil ready to grow things. The soil in the area around Lafayette was dark, almost black. And when it was being turned, everything smelled alive.
I smelled some of that life this week as the rains fell in Santa Barbara, scrubbing some of the dust out of the leaves and the air. The air smells fresher and cleaner than it did in those long, dry patches.
It’s amazing what smells do to us. They can whisk us back in time or make our salivary glands overwork. Smells can make us feel safe or make us afraid. Smells can draw us in and repel us away. In our text for Sunday from John 12, verse 7 says “And the house was filled with the fragrance…” What was the fragrance? What did it do and mean to Jesus and the others?
The sanctuary will be filled Sunday with a unique fragrance from a plant that grows all around the church. When you come in, pause and reflect what that fragrance means to you.