'For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.' (2 Corinthians 2:15)
What’s your favourite smell? Mown grass, fresh bread, coffee just brewed, a loved one’s perfume? Henk van de Meer takes us around Mile End, describing the sights and smells he encounters along the way.
Across from ELT Baptist Church, a long standing partner of London City Mission in sharing the gospel, lies Mile End Park, a 36 hectare award-winning park built in the 1940s with the aim of linking green spaces to the river.
Henk often strolls through its grassy expanses while the wafts of various smells remind him that Mile End is full of folk from many walks of life:
On a sunny afternoon the smell of candy floss, roasting chicken, cannabis, flowers, or fried onion with curry, will get your attention in the park.
No Walk in the Park
For some though, a rose bush is the only shelter to be found on a chilly night. Henk will bear the less than fresh odours to chat to a local rough sleeper, who’ll do the religious thing for a bit...but really all he’s after is a shower. Another homeless contact, who professes to be a Christian but struggles with attending church, felt he was losing his faith. Henk encouraged him to join with God’s family and the next Sunday, he turned up at ELT!
As Henk walks the high street, he passes many shops... patchouli smells drifting out of some, sharp tang of frying spices out of others. Local shopkeepers find their customers keen to chat politics–but in the current climate of hot debates surrounding contentious issues of race, religion and sexuality, Henk brings the wisdom and love of Christ to cut through the confusion and engage on a deeper level. With his steps come the aroma of the Holy Spirit and the awakening fragrance the good news leaves with those seeking salvation.