I love coffee. I love walking through the door of our little coffee shop on the square and getting bathed in the delicious aroma of all things coffee. It makes me pause for just a second, breath in deeply, and smile. There’s just something about smelling something (or someone) I love. Lilacs in May. Apple crisp in October. Pine at Christmas. Freshly bathed grandbabies, sprinkled with baby powder.
Exodus Thirty centers on the burning of incense – beautifully scented spices and oils – as an act of sacrifice – a holy and pleasing invitation to meet with God. From Exodus to Revelation, incense is a physical representation of communication with God:
Do you suppose our prayers delight God’s senses as much as the coffee shop delights mine? It makes me smile just to think about it. And I imagine that the joy he has when one of his children prays is multiplied beyond comprehension.
So often, prayer is monotonous…robotic even. It looms on our to do list, alongside laundry and mowing the lawn. How sad. In fact, God tells Aaron that it is an insult for anyone to use the incense carelessly – and that doing so will cause separation. (vs.38)
Prayer is a sweet and holy communion with the God of the universe. And should be treated as such. If we truly grasp this, understanding that it is aromatic worship – rising to heaven, carrying our praise and burdens and desire to the very presence of God – then it will no longer be monotonous.
Instead, it will be oxygen for our hearts and joy to our souls.