Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. ~Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB)
One of my favorite I Love Lucy episodes is the one where Lucy tries to avoid being caught imitating Harpo Marx by imitating him as if she were a mirror image of him. She has to focus every fiber of her being on him so she’s in tune with his actions. It’s hysterical (if you love Lucy), but it’s also a vivid picture of what it’s like to follow an example–not just spout the words.
Therefore, Paul tells us (what’s the therefore there for?), we aren’t to live or dress up like the dark and disobedient, but we’re to put on the new self in the likeness of God (Ephesians 4:24). The Greek gives a sense of sinking into a garment–a sinking, I think, into Jesus. Into Love Himself, so we become a mirror image of Him.
Because Love lives in us, we can live a life of love, remembering that it’s a walk, not a run. Remembering to slow down and be present in each moment. Remembering to be and to see, to pay attention–and to do only in response to His whisper, to the rustle of His robe.
We are His “beloved because,” loved as we be, loved because we be. Because He is I Am. And because He is, I am. You are. He loves us so much that He gave up privilege and power to present Himself as a living sacrifice, all for us.
The Sovereign sank into the suit of a servant.
He humbled Himself, made Himself small, shrink-wrapped Himself into a sweet-smelling sacrifice.
Back in the day, Hebrew kings were “crowned” with very expensive perfumed oil.
Everything and everyone with that unique, sweet aroma was recognized as belonging to God in a special way.
In the ancient Middle East, the majesty of a king was expressed not only by what he wore–his jewelry and robes–but by his royal “aroma.” Even after a king was first anointed, he would perfume his robes with precious oils for special occasions . . .
During royal processions, the fragrance of expensive oils would inform the crowds that a king was passing by. . . (Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus ~p. 16-18)
The scent of the perfume with which Mary anointed Jesus must have clung to him for days. Everywhere He went, He shed the scent of a king.
When He entered Jerusalem, in the garden, during his trial, during His stripping and whipping, and when He was nailed to the cross, His fragrance must have permeated the air. Perhaps it even clung to His enemies.
He carried the sweet scent of sacrifice.
And we’re called to imitate Him, like a child copies a parent. To do that, we need to focus every fiber of our being on Him, to give ourselves up for others as He gave Himself up for us, to become a mirror image of Him so others see Him reflected in us.
We’re to walk in love because Love walks in us.
That Love walked all the way to Calvary.
And so He calls us to be love-crushed for and because of Him, to be love-crushed for each other.
Because it’s in the moment-to-moment small sacrifices that we seep His scent.
He calls us to carry a cross, to shine His light, and to sing His song.