Where I live, the Bradford pear trees were spectacular this year. Their coating of white clusters looked like clumps of snow that would easily turn the warming ground underneath into a frosty wonderland if given a good shake or two.
Their prolific flowers are beautiful, but they have a pervasive, putrid smell. The odor is so offensive that it is one of the reasons I let others grow Bradfords. I prefer enjoying them at a distance.
These photos are of the ones lining the parking lot of my church. Although pretty during other seasons, when showcasing their floral display, they are particularly inviting. Their snowy beauty welcomes, while the smell of the blooms, very easily overlooked.
When welcoming others to our places of worship, do we open our doors as equally to those with beautiful lives as we do those with the smell of the world on them? Are we as loving to those we think have it together spiritually as with those who still have the stench of issues?
Not that we should ever neglect to have truth in love clearly spoken from our pulpits, in order that people leave closer to God than when they arrive. But if we shun those lost and broken, distancing ourselves from them because they still resemble the world, we fail to love like Christ.
The reality is that we all reek of sin and are in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus to cover us with His beauty. A beauty that through forgiveness no longer has the putrid smell of the world; rather the fragrant aroma of Christ.
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
© Sue Nash/ 2014