I’m driving near lake city, Colorado where the mountains tightly surround the small community and rivers run all around it. I spot a hitchhiker a few miles up the road and I slowly go past a young man whose white teeth were so bright in contrast to his filthy face. I passed him bye. Why? Probably because he looked so dirty and he would probably stink up the vehicle I was driving….and then I looked at myself. I had just gotten off the trail from backpacking for 5 days with no toothbrush, deodorant or change of clothes. My odor was horrific. When I finally smelled myself, I turned around to pick up the guy. Why? Because we smelled the same and had both been sleeping under the stars for many days.
His name was Jamie and he was from Wales outside of Cardiff. I had been there so we had a bunch to talk about, especially rugby. He had just graduated university and wanted to be a math teacher, but first he wanted to hitch across the states, then to Fiji, then to Australia by himself. I took him down the road a ways and really felt a connection with this guy. In a funny sort of way, I’m glad I was dirty enough to have compassion for such a great young man.
Think of the smells Jesus smelled. From mangy shepherds to his buddy Lazarus who had been dead for several days, Jesus smelled the smells of those he loved. It reminds me of a homeless man who took off his shoes in my office to show me his infections, my office wreaked for days. While it was uncomfortable for me to be in my office, God used this smell to remind of a man who was much more uncomfortable than me.
God, may you help me to hear your voice, taste your bread and wine, see your goodness, feel your warmth and SMELL your creation.