Weekly message from Cypress Church: A fragrance or an odor in crisis

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Though we are under a “stay at home” order during this Coronavirus crisis we are still allowed to go for walks and be outside. On a recent walk around our neighborhood, we encountered various aromas. Some are so pleasant like the smell of someone BBQing and you can almost taste the barbecue sauce, or the waft of fresh baked bread or cookies, or some amazing garlic-curry-spicy goodness. Oh my, does it make me hungry! As well, we walked by an orange tree just beginning to bloom and the wonderful scent of the orange blossoms filled my nostrils and brought a huge, eye closing, grin to my face. I can’t get enough of that fragrance. Soon, my backyard will be filled with the fragrance of orange blossoms. See, I have my own orange tree on one side of my yard and my neighbors have an orange tree that is on the other side. When the gentle Spring breeze blows, it comes down both sides of my house filling my backyard with that pleasant orange blossom aroma. I love it! Sorry if you have allergies but I can’t get enough of this olfactory delight. These fragrances bring on a simple joy and for a brief moment lift the burden of all the frustration, confusion, overwhelming-change and anxiety of this current medical crisis.

Also, on this walk we encountered some other smells, some not so pleasant aromas. Like the offensive odor of manure that someone must be using to fertilize their lawn or flower bed. Yes, I know it will help the plants but right then I felt like it was choking me out. Then there is the gagging stench of some trash containers on trash day. Whew, we had to hold our breath and quicken our pace. Each of these odors seem to push away the pleasant feeling of those nice fragrances and overpower any sense of joy or happiness.

In all this thought of fragrances and unpleasant odors I wonder what kind of aroma our actions put off? Is the way we treat people, the words we use, the way we respond, the attitude we convey a pleasant fragrance or a stinky odor? The proverb above (Proverbs 27:9) says that a friend’s counsel is like perfume and makes the heart glad. Kind actions of being good friends or nice human beings does have a way of gladdening our hearts, helping us pull our minds out of our struggles, and bringing us joy.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

1 Peter 8-10 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible is an amazing example of one who wafted off a beautiful fragrance to
humanity. He loved people and was moved with compassion to help them (Matthew 9:35-36, Matthew 14:13-14). Jesus helped a desperate father (Mark 9:14-27). Jesus went beyond social norms and touched a leper (Matthew 8:1-4) and spent time with delinquents (Mark 2:13-17). Jesus was an amazing fragrance, and we are called to be like Him.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

There is a lot of stench in our world today of people being mean, unkind, hurtful and self-centered. A crisis like the one we are in can bring out the worst in us, but it’s also an opportunity to purposefully choose to be that pleasant fragrance. Let’s be that overpowering fragrance of Christ-like love. It will be a beautiful aroma and bring joy, like the scent of these amazing orange blossoms.

Church is a great place to learn of the fragrance of Jesus. Many churches have moved their gatherings to ‘live streamed’ services. If you don’t already have an online Sunday church gathering, we would like to invite you to Neighborhood Church/Cypress Church (same church, same heart, just a new name). We have three campuses; our website has all the information you would need. Every Sunday we learn from the Bible and seek to know God more, and pray. Here is the link to our live-streaming services live.neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings visit our YouTube channel.