Neuroscientists know when we look at images that evoke memories of smells, certain locations of our brains light up. The science of smell evolves with discoveries in neuroscience and chemistry. Like the science of smell (which lags behind the science of our other senses), so, too, Christian theology has scarcely reflected on the smells of faith.
When I was young, I was taught to hear God in the preaching of the word and taught to see God in the reading of the word. I was even taught to taste God in the bread and the wine. But nobody ever told me that faith might be related to our sense of smell. What would happen if instead of just eating the bread and drinking the wine during the Eucharist, we baked the bread beforehand and the odor of the warm bread wafted into the sanctuary? What if we uncorked the bottle and the fragrance of the wine reached our nose? Faith is the joyous aroma of mutual love shared between God and all creation.
This message is excerpted from “The aroma of faith” by Ann Milliken Pederson in the November 2019 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543; Leonhard Euler, 1783; scientists.
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