This I’ve written as a short thought in preparation to receive Holy communion on Sunday. Comments and opinions would be greatly appreciated.
As we prepare to receive His holy communion let us go the Lord in prayer,
“Dear heavenly father,
We come before you in loving fellowship and with grateful hearts. Lord, we thank you for your ultimate sacrifice of your son Jesus and for his supreme act of love giving his life for us on the cross. Father, we humbly ask that you anoint us with your Holy Spirit as we prepare to accept the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We ask for forgiveness for our sins so that we may be washed white as snow. Father, please clear our minds from any distractions so that we may be transformed by your word this morning. All this we pray in the holy name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Let us go the word of the Lord in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 verses 1 and 2. In this portion of this letter Paul is instructing the Ephesians how to walk in love through imitating the Lord, as a child does his beloved father. Paul urges the Ephesians to strive to be like God, not as slaves trying to earn a wage, but as his beloved children. Chapter 5 verses one and two say this,
“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.”
Christ gave himself up for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. We are preparing to receive his fragrant offering and sacrifice as the supreme act of love and atonement for our sins. Paul’s description of Christ’s sacrifice as a fragrant offering finds meaning in Matthew’s account of Mary Magdalene’s anointing of Jesus. In Matthew chapter 26 verses 6 through 13 Matthew recalls Jesus’ anointing at Bethany.
“Now when Jesus was at “Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at the table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste” For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.
This anointing is one of numerous scripture appealing to our sense of smell. In this account Jesus was anointed with an extremely expensive perfume as an offering of love. The bible often describes offerings as soothing aromas to the Lord. Perhaps this is what Paul means when he calls us to give ourselves up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. No matter the cost, our dedication to the Lord should serve as an utter display of our love for Him. Let us live our lives in a way that pleases the Lord as the sweetest fragrance and most soothing aroma.
Let us pray,
“Dear heavenly father, we thank you for the forgiveness of our sins. We thank you for the blessing of Life. Help us to live our lives in a way that surrounds you with the sweetest fragrance. We pray that our actions align with your perfect will. We strive to walk in love, offering our lives as a fragrant offering just as Christ Jesus did for us. We are your beloved children, and we yearn to be just like you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
“We thank you for the sacrifice of your son Jesus. Your grace fills us with a refreshing aroma of pure love. Imbue our lives with your sweet aroma so that we may be led by your perfectly pleasing will. Father, let the fragrance of our lives be as sweet as a bouquet of flowers to others so that we may attract others to you. All this we pray in love and reverence for you, amen.”