Symptoms of The Sickness

by DanWolgemuth on October 15, 2021

COVID has propelled internet activity at intense levels. Many of the searches have to do with symptoms associated with the disease. Of all of the symptoms that seem focused and telling… the loss of smell and taste is high on the list.

Over 50% of the individuals who contract COVID experience anosmia. Some say as many at 2/3 of the individuals.

Thankfully, it seems to be temporary… but in some cases it’s dangerous and devastating. Smell and taste not only enhance our lives, they also warn us of danger. Legitimate danger. Even as smell and taste invite us into joy and celebration.

A recent bout with these symptoms not only impacted my body, but my soul as well.

The Psalmist put it this way, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Taste connects us to the goodness of God.

And again…

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Or the words of Jesus…

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Is it possible that COVID has not only exposed the fragility of our human condition, but also, the condition of many in the church today? Does the evangelical church have COVID?

Are we tasteless to the world? Indistinguishable from the culture we are supposed to season. We have the texture and temperature of the church, but we are neither sweet nor savory to those we engage.

When the world is angry and bitter and defensive and divided, so are we. When the world is self-absorbed, ego driven, celebrity obsessed… so too, the church.

In a blind taste test, would Christians taste any different than the insipid world around them? And does this pointed symptom project a lifeless and suffocating faith?

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

An aroma. The aroma. Of Jesus. Our Christ.

A smell that warns. A smell that ignites.

But today… nothing. No difference.

Smells often trigger memories. A favorite recipe. A compelling fragrance. A distinct warning.

The aroma of Christ should remind the world of justice and hope and love and grace and compassion and righteousness and mercy. But…

A generation is growing up without a positive sensory memory. They’ve smelled musty, rancid, or stale representations of faith that don’t smell anything like the fragrance of Christ. An aroma that lingers. A taste that lasts.

I’m convicted. Frankly, I’m embarrassed.

This is not the aroma of FOX News, or CNN, or MSNBC, or the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal.

We are to be set apart. Different. In the world to season it. Bold. Bright. Powerful. Unmistakable.

Just like the taste and smell of our Savior. Skeptics and saints were impacted. His enemies and his allies. The smell and taste of eternity. Distinguishable. Compelling. Undeniable. Taste and see… I think it’s time.

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