Leviticus 3-5 & Mark 5: 21-43
Guest Author: Magnolia Hood
The fragrance industry is a very lucrative one. Some reports it being worth billions of dollars a year. Now there’s nothing wrong with this since for the most part, I imagine that we all like to smell good, right? In reflecting upon today’s readings, these two are closely related in my mind. Really? You may think. But yes, here is how. You can find perfume, parfume, cologne, and all sorts of body mists and sprays mostly anywhere in today’s society. They tend to be affordable for all budgets and financial backgrounds. This week while I was at work, I was thumbing through a magazine as I waited for a client and I came across one of those sample sheet inserts for Coach perfume. So I peeled open the insert, and was instantly a fan! I WANT THAT PERFUME!! So went looking for it. Google revealed to me that it was available for anywhere between $65 and $85 for a 1.7oz bottle.
This fragrance that I find pleasing does not come cheap, right? Going back to my previous statement, fragrances can cost various depending on your budget. I am sure that I can find a cheaper (generic) version of this fragrance that will not set me back so much. I am quite sure that I can bypass the trip to Macy’s and go to Walgreens and find a similar smell. The only problem is that someone that is also a fan of that fragrance and actually has the authentic version will be able to tell the difference should we ever share a car, elevator or classroom. The point I am trying to make, is that though the generic is cheaper, you will always be able to tell the difference.
That takes me to our reading for today. In Leviticus, God is giving instruction to Moses as to how Aaron and his sons are to give atonement offerings to God for the sins of the people. The distinctions between the different types of offerings have different procedures, purposes, and significances. The one recurrent theme that I find is no matter what you use for sacrifice, or even how you sacrifice; it must be “an aroma pleasing to the Lord”. So whether it comes from the herd, or the flock, it must be an aroma pleasing to the Lord. So it makes me wonder; what causes this aroma? We no longer have to come to our churches with rams and goats in tow, so how then do we make this aroma? Here’s what I have found: you must come to God with a repentant heart and a willingness to confess what the sin is. We initiate reconciliation with God, by humbling our own hearts, and coming to God accordingly. How pleasing would it be if we came to God like the woman in our Mark 5 reading?
God desires our sacrifice of ourselves on the altar of repentance. To lay aside our ideas and thoughts that can cause blemishes. He wants our investment, and our participation. Just as the priests had to participate fully even to the laying on of their hands onto the head of the sacrifice, to symbolize how the animal was taking the place of man. Today, can you lay your hand on your own head, and sacrifice yourself today? Yes, it may cost a lot, but it would be a most recognizable fragrance to our God.