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The Smell of Home
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When our kids came home for college breaks, one of the first things they would do was take a deep breath and sigh, “Oh, it smells like home!” In fact, they still do when they come home for visits. I love that! I'm so glad they associate the unique scents of our house with pleasant feelings.

I relate to that feeling myself when I visit my childhood home. Just recently, I visited my parents for several days, and while I was there, I found myself picking up pillows and holding them to my nose, taking deep breaths in the backyard, or smelling the familiar scent of hay as I passed through the barn. That particular setting conjures a mix of summer sweat and sun-soaked alfalfa. Then there is the smell of the creek, which is both mossy and fresh. Home. It is amazing how sweet it can smell.
There is another home that I love to visit often that offers that same sweetness. It is church. Yes, that's right. During my years of severe depression, I would go to our church during the week when I could pray in the sanctuary all by myself with God. Those were sweet moments with Jesus that were like none before or since.

One of the things that made those visits sweet was, yes, the smell. I would walk into the sanctuary and the familiar scent would seem to wrap itself around me like the very arms of Jesus. I would be enveloped not only by the present, but also the past--the years of bringing our children there from cradle to adulthood, meeting with like believers, singing familiar praises to God, and hearing the Word preached by various human voices.

Breaks My Heart

It breaks my heart that some of my loved ones no longer attend church. They say that they don't believe in organized religion. While I recognize that some church officials can be rather power hungry and ambitious in “climbing the ladder,” I recognize so much more the majority of people in organized religion (church, that is) who come humbly to meet with one another and with God. To find peace in a troubled world and to share that peace both outside and inside the church walls. To allow their senses to embrace it all, including the very church building.

That's how it is when you have a church home. You leave for a while, during the week, but when you return, you catch the scent of joy. Yes, you may even be hit with the overpowering dose of the elderly lady's Estee Lauder perfume that she's been wearing for twenty years. But would it be the same without it? No way. It's part of what makes your church your home church.

If you've been away from church, consider returning and re-discover that there really is no place like home!

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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