Monday, 16 February 2009

Smells Like Holy Spirit

Nostrils after
Originally uploaded by jeffandmandyg
In my last post I said that I was all for the use of incense in worship. Tim F commented saying he wasn't so sure.
Set me thinking.

How have / would you use smell in worship? And what smells in particular?

Not what does worship smell like - for me that's definitely wood varnish and dusty books with distinct undertones of old lady. No, what I'm interested in is not those evocative olfactory inspired memories but rather the deliberate, intentional use of scent as an aid to worship.

What do you reckon?


Bob said...

I've used the sense of smell on several occasions. Frankincense at Christmas time - nearly asphyxiated the pianist that time. The smell of bacon cooking - used an electric ring and cooked bacon sandwiches during a service to talk about evangelism! Smell has the ability to trigger memory in a really powerful way.

Graham Doel said...

I've used incense. I aksed my colleague at St. Pat's if he could help me out. He was very happy to.

I've used a Frankincense smell, mainly in all age worship.... but also in a sermon, talking about the incense rising from the altar (think we were looking at Revelation). It was fun!

Kelly Amoss said...

As someone who doesn't enjoy strong smells, and who can't walk past a branch of 'Lush' without getting a headache, my visit to two high C of E churches on Sunday was not great! The incense was more of a distraction than anything else. But then I struggle with high C of E anyway, incense or no incense.

I do like the idea of using smells in general though - contemporary worship has tried to include other senses such as touch and sight, smell would be good.

Glen Marshall said...

Kelly, as a floral artist how on earth do you cope with lillies?

Catriona said...

Lilies - now for me these are known as 'crem flowers' and their historic use, given how pungent they are, is self evident.

I have used scented candles (sorry!) and scented oil in worship on occasion to create ambience (or some such). Incense makes me cough, lilies make me sneeze...

I've always fancied fresh-baked bread for communion for olefactory aesthetics or some such.

Pastor Pete said...

I used incense in an evening service with the Lord's Supper once.It certainly made an impact on those attending.

Not usually into this sensory stuff, but I have to say, something special happened that evening!

Glen Marshall said...

Pete, bet you are into sensory stuff - but probably the sense of hearing dominates (you know all that preaching and singing malarky). Plus it's really really hard to not get an eyeful of the visual stuff as well!

Thanks for the comment. Will you use incense again?

Albatross said...

I attended a service once where the leader specifically tried to include all our senses. Smell was evoked by using an oil burner, in tandem with reading the passage about the woman anointing Jesus' feet with Nard - in that context it did work quite well, but the opportunities to do it might be quite limited. (Not to mention of course that the smell of the miraculous catch of fish might be a little overpowering....)