I was walking through a parking lot into a store recently and passed by a 35+ year old car. The smell of oil and grease filled my nostrils. In that moment I was transported to my childhood to a little gas station across from a large brick manufacturing plant. The service station owner had given my father the use of one of the two service bays for the day. Dad was pulling the motor out of our family VW bus to repair it and as his 8 year old assistant, I was handing him tools and watching in wonder. The smell of gas and oil permeated the air. It was the beginning of a lifelong love for automobiles and mechanics.
It’s funny how little things like an odor, a sight, a texture, a sound, or a taste can spark a memory; fond or painful. Sometimes we look to make those connections. We step into a church and we find ourselves thinking, “This pulpit reminds me of…or, those windows are like the ones at…” If that happens naturally and we naturally look to make those connections, why is it that we don’t pay more attention to such things in the church?
What rich memory do we plant into the senses of others of an experience of Christ? Can they see it (in us?), sense it (through us?), be in wonder of it (through the Holy Spirit?)? Is it vivid enough that something will spark that memory in time to come? We often underestimate the power of our influence. It matters when we extend genuine hospitality (as opposed to being nosey) or genuine care and concern or taking the time to share our personal experience with Christ to someone else.
I cherish the time I had with my father and the abundance of things that bring to remembrance those special times. What opportunities are we creating for others to spend special time with the Heavenly Father? Will they experience His incredible love and promises because of our church’s worship, service, fellowship, care and concern? Will they be reminded of it in the midst of an everyday event like walking through a parking lot?
Just a thought.