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Dear Hyde Park Family,

Are there certain fragrances that evoke strong memories for you? 

I was surprised to learn recently that the same part of our brain that processes our sense of smell is the same as where we store our memories. Your olfactory bulb is connected to both the amygdala (which processes emotion) and the hippocampus (which is linked to memories). 

It is why, when I smell a particular musty, stuffy kind of odor, I am immediately transported back to my aging dormitory hallway in seminary. It’s also why the scent of a certain cleaning agent brings me back to my kindergarten classroom in the 1970s. And it’s why the smell of chicken adobo puts me right back at my childhood dining room table. The list could go on and on for me. 

What fragrances conjure those kinds of memories for you? I’d love to know. 


It’s interesting that our other four senses seem to get more play in the scriptures. We read a lot about sight (blind people being healed, Jesus as the “light of the world”) and touch (the Word made “Flesh,” and the touch of his scars to prove his resurrection). The command to hear (“Shema”) is one of the most prevalent words in the Old Testament, as are the numerous stories about eating, drinking, and tasting. 

But the power of smell is not showcased nearly as often. There was the odor of Lazarus as he emerged from the grave, and the fragrant perfume that was poured on Jesus’ feet at the anointing of Bethany. But there’s not much else.

In fact, Paul uses the Greek word for aroma (“euodia”) only three times in his letters, and one of them happens to be in 2 Corinthians 2:15-17, which is our scripture text for this Sunday: 

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

So, here’s what I’m wondering: How might your life and this church be a sweet fragrance for others? What impact can we make in the name of Jesus, such that others will have enduring memories of God’s love for them? 


One answer comes in part from our 2022 Impact Report, which shares the amazing ways that you have been a part of reaching others in our community and around the world. Read it and give thanks for how God has been at work through the people of Hyde Park United Methodist!

Together, let us offer ourselves to God, that others may experience the transformative, memorable aroma of Christ. 

Grace and Peace,