So, having just got back from serving at Newday (an awesome youth event held for one week a year at the Norfolk Show Ground) I was struck by many things as always. But, the over riding one was as I unpacked my clothes (those worn and those not worn) that I noticed something….
Just to back up the tracks for a moment and give you some back story-we didn’t camp this year after a rather alarming camping incident a couple of years ago when our tent got flattened and ruined on a rather windy afternoon! The large gazebo in the Servers area of the camp site that we were camped near took off in a gust of wind and some of it landed on our tent, flattening it and splintering the poles that held it up. Now contrary to popular belief I hadn’t sawed through said poles to make the tent collapse, it was a genuine freak accident that I took as a clear sign from God that He didn’t want me camping anymore and we’ll leave it at that!
So, this year we booked into an Air BnB for the week, about 10 minutes from the site, that meant we could sleep in a proper bed that wouldn’t deflate in the night and we would have access to a shower that wasn’t full of unmentionables, I kid you not!!!! Seriously who does that! It also meant that we would be able to unpack our stuff and actually hang it up and put it in drawers instead of living out of a suitcase (or in our case a blue Ikea bag-so much easier to get in the car).
Now this Air BnB was lovely and clean with good facilities but it was very old fashioned in terms of decor, with carpets clearly not changed since the 70’s (our bedroom carpet was covered in what looked like large orange slices in a swirly orange and yellow colour) and the whole place had a smell to it. I want to try and describe it to you but all I’ve got is…boiled cabbage (you can smell it can’t you?). After you had been in the place a while to be honest you got used to it and to be fair we were hardly there as it was early starts and late finishes on site.
So, like I said you got used to it. But, as I unpacked the bags back at home on the Saturday night I was struck by the fact that all the clothes, those worn and the ones that had been hung up or in drawers smelt like, you guessed it-the bungalow. The smell had impregnated the very fabric of all the clothes which meant more washing than I had imagined. But, that’s not why I’m telling this story!
You see the whole smell on the clothes thing is a metaphor (symbolic of something else) for what happens at Newday. You come along and you have your own fragrance but whilst you are there all week soaking in the presence of God there is an exchange that happens. You begin to take on the scent of Christ. You cannot flee from His presence wherever you go on site. The worship of over 7000 people fills not only the big top but the surrounding atmosphere, everywhere you look there are signs, scriptures, kindness, honour, generosity and love being exhibited and it begins to get under your skin.
You spend the week hearing about God, learning about His nature, His son Jesus and encountering the person of the Holy Spirit. You listen to different styles of worship and the songs seep into your being and you find yourself singing them all the time (or even clapping!) After spending the week marinading in His presence you are left with the fragrance of Christ on you and when you come back to your own sphere of influence people should be able to smell it on you. When you walk past they encounter something of God’s presence as you carry the kingdom of Heaven. Your mindset has become a kingdom mindset and you exhibit this in the things you say, do and how you act. People can’t fail to notice things have changed when you become a Christian and you start to live and breathe to serve God.
2 Cor 2:14-16 MSG
In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.
We should expect things to change when we get saved and for people to start opening up when they are around us, without us doing anything, because they can sense something different about us even if they don’t fully realise it. I love the fact that I can walk into a room and I carry the kingdom of heaven so people around me should feel peace, joy, safety and loved. I love Newday, exhaustion and all because it’s a reminder that getting to live this Christian life is a privilege and a joy and sometimes it’s as simple as being there for someone and letting the fragrance of Jesus rub off onto them as I love them, hug them, help them and encourage them.
So, what is the fragrance you are wearing today?
May I suggest that the fragrance of Jesus which was so costly for God is available for you today and it’s totally free! In fact, it’s the most valuable scent on the planet! It’s the best thing you’ll ever smell and God say’s You’re worth it!
One of the amazing teams I got the privilege of serving with this year.
The Rhythm Factory Team.