Smell has a fascinating way of transporting us to the past, to our memories. When I catch the aroma of freshly baked bread, I am taken back to Kirchzarten, Germany, where the bakery down the street from our house would wake me up with the dusky, yeasty scents of bread coming out of the early morning ovens. I also think of my father and his patience, as he taught me to measure ingredients, knead the dough, and wait, sipping a cup of fragrant tea together as the bread finished baking. 

Which scent carries you back to a comforting moment?

Smell is also very grounding, helping us fully experience the present. I use the scents of rose water, or a mild incense, or eucalyptus to guide me back out of anxiety and into the reality of the present moment.

Which scent evokes the presence of God for you? 

When I pray to the Great Spirit, as I call God, I feel as though my prayers swirl around me, as they did for the psalmist of Psalm 141. My hope is that our prayers join together, floating, spinning gentle tendrils outwards, spreading the scents of hope, love, grace, and peace, God’s gifts to us all.

“Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly,
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.” Mother Teresa of Kolkata

 Amy Hartsough, 1993, LCM Director of Music ’99, ’05, ’19

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

Psalm 141:2