“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
The ability to smell is one gift we often take for granted. That’s probably because we usually identify things more quickly with one of our other senses. At the same time, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without the smells.
Some of the most unlikely creatures have a sense of smell. Believe it or not, even fungi have a sense of smell. Worms have organs on their heads to sense odor. Ticks carry their scent-detecting organs on their feet; this arrangement wouldn’t work well for us! Mollusks smell through their gills! The salmon uses smell to find the same brook in which he was spawned. Lizards and snakes use their tongues to detect scents.
The most skilled smellers in the animal world can detect a scent even if there is only one molecule of that scent mixed in with 10 trillion molecules of average air. The modern perfumer’s highly trained nose can identify about 10,000 different odors.
Before the days of modern medicine, a doctor’s diagnosis would consist in part of sniffing the patient. For example, the plague had the scent of honey. Scarlet fever often gave its presence away by the smell of hot bread, and measles smelled like fresh-plucked feathers.
It takes a keen knowledge of biochemistry to design a system that can detect and identify scents. So next time you smell a wonderful meal or a beautiful flower, you may want to thank your Creator.
I thank You, Lord, for my senses and all the wonderful scents with which You have filled the world. Help my life to be a sweet-smelling offering ascending to You. Amen.