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The Smell of my Son

The Smell of my Son

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 – Week of 5 Epiphany, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 119:97-120 (morning) // 81, 82 (evening)

Genesis 27:1-29

Romans 12:1-8

John 8:12-20

I once had the privilege of attending a Shabbat dinner at the home of some Orthodox Jewish friends. One aspect of their table liturgy moved me deeply: A father of two children went to each of them in turn, laid his hands on their heads, kissed the top of their heads, and blessed them.

The family at the center of today’s first reading also extends a blessing from father to child, although the family has its share of conflict, competition, and deceit. Isaac asks his son Jacob to come near him and kiss him. Isaac smells his son’s garments, blesses him and says, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.”

Ah . . . the smell of my son. My own son is still small enough for me to hold close while he sleeps. I can nuzzle his fuzzy little head and his soft, sweet neck. I am likely to be awake rocking him sometime around 2am tomorrow, but I hope I remember to snuggle him in the dark, bless him, and breathe in his smell.

Touch and smell are the senses that truly help us to recognize our blessings. Only when he is blind does Isaac extend a blessing to his younger son and recognize the rich blessing that Jacob is. Isaac blesses through touch and knows his blessing by smell.

If only all of life’s blessings were similarly blind, bestowed graciously through touch rather than kept at a distance by the discriminating powers of sight. If only we recognized the blessings in our lives and took time to breathe them in, rather than overlooking them.

Will we find time today to feel our blessings? To pull them in close to us—close enough to smell them and to exhale with Isaac, “Ah . . . the smell of my son” ? May we all find time today to breathe in the blessings in our lives, even at the inconvenient hour of 2am.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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