Smelling Like a Sacrifice


Today was an interesting day. O pardon me, ‘today’ is already yesterday: and the day before that was also interesting. It was a day of smells. Not always pleasant. A day to again consider the anointing, oil and Spirit. It was both joyful and traumatizing. I am hedging…not really wanting to get into it; so here goes.

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
         The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
         Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
         To practice wicked works
         With men who work iniquity;
         And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” Psalm 141

In order to get to yesterday, let me start with last Friday. I had come from town, a very late lunch with an old friend after a meeting with an excellent lawyer. I get home and I can’t shake off a heavy feeling. I talk to two of my neighbors and discover why…then decide not to dwell on it. And actually manage to ask them to stop quite early in their attempts to tell me about their day in order for each to put the other in bad light.  I love them both and apart from the very important fact that I know God hates slander, I just did not have the grace to listen to them tear at each other. Anyway, my little one and a half year old neighbor sees me walking back to the apartment area and flies into my arms…Baby Beko is the miracle I needed that instant. And as I cradle him, marveling at the beauty of him, I notice a white car approaching. It passes in front of us. No one needs to tell me that the four occupants are armed and dangerous, but my eyes find and lingers on each other their faces as they pass by. They try to scare me but am equally defiant silently saying in my head “O no, you are not going to intimidate me in my neighborhood. “ This takes five to ten seconds at most and then I turn my attention to Beko and his giggling as I toss him into the air and catch him. I then linger a little bit with the caretaker and one neighbor at the gate then decide that 6:15 pm is too late for me to be standing and chatting idly outside. Besides, Leroy, my son, is threatening to bring me a cup of tea out there and his sister Shukurani is standing barefoot too close to the puddle of seeping sewage from one of the septic tanks. So into the house I go. And all is well again.

Saturday is a beautiful day. Full of fellowship, God’s Word and meeting new and old friends. Then I go home. Late. The fellowship is at Homecare Spiritual Fellowship Premises off Kabarnet Road in Nairobi Ngong Road. Remember my vision about the crows? If you didn’t read it, this would be a good time to go back to it and do so. It’s definitely going to be quicker than this one. And you will catch up with me at this exact spot. So again I come back home, praying for me, for my children, for my family, for my neighbors and for my loved ones. Delivered, motivated, but again heavy hearted.  I skip over the still puddle of sewage right under the gate and try not to breath in before I get to my door. Sunday, I receive two old friends at my flat Anne and Carole. Fellowship is nice. I see them off at around 3:30, making sure their sandaled feet do not come into contact with the standing sewage at the gate. I almost don’t smell it at all, but I notice all my visitors tense up at the gate…and hardly smile…so I know the stench must be terrible. Beko is again with me…happy, reaching for my arms, waiting for me to throw him into the air. So I straddle him on my hip and see my friends off. And then indulge him.

 

So yesterday, I try to open the windows in the morning and my hands rebel. The stuffiness in my bedroom cum living room is easier to take in, by far than the stale early morning evidence  that the world does indeed use their bathrooms. It’s an otherwise blessed day. And in the evening, the worship on Hope fm, keeps me on my knees for long. Leroy, Shukri and I complete our devotions and then I get into some time with God, doing some thorough spiritual bathing. And as I worship and pray, I get images in my mind of three women bending over in an unsightly manner towards my house, so I increase the intensity of my prayers. I pray until I sense a release. I try to get back to my computer afterwards but I hear The Father gently say “No, go to sleep”. I raise the volume of the radio overnight worship a little higher and comply. And sleep like a baby. I dream that I am still looking for home, and keep shuttling between my old neighborhood and God’s  promised neighborhood, with Leroy, Shukri and twin sons in my arms. I am still serving God and my twins are good babies in my dream, but all the drama of the actual rejection in my life replays in my dream. It’s a calm dream, with a pain so dull I can almost ignore it. And yet it lives on even as the joy of my walk and service to God flows over. Twin boys?

So I wake up this morning and still on my knees I call the management of the plot on which I live in; a library call. “Pole [sorry] about the ‘visitors’ you had last night” he says. Not really curious, I ask him “we had visitors?” suspecting we have new tenants. “Yes, the bad kind. I heard they stole a carpet from one of your neighbors” I immediately know which one but ask him still “which of my neighbors?” and he confirms it. “I have not stepped out of the house but will go out and check. My house is still dark, curtains tightly drawn. It’s a day of contemplating on God’s love and Grace and I was doing business with Him and did not want to be distracted by the smells again…still I find myself on my feet and outside. I confirm that the ‘electrical fencing’ above the wall was badly torn off and that a robbery did occur. I am amazed I slept through it! I am such a light sleeper. And my flat is closest to the breached wall, after Beko and his Mom’s. As my neighbors and I engage in some talk about it we are joined by another one. “Mami, do you remember a white car that passed us last week on Friday? Apparently they were armed gangsters going into our next door neighbors house to rob them. They got into the compound, but the maid acted quickly and they were not able to get into the house and they actually left in a hurry. We were right in front of the plot Mami! Do you remember them?” My brain freezes. Then my landlord’s son walks in with a new tenant and we hug, and get talking. I tell him about the break in and then he gets close to me and asks ‘Auntie Vip, what is that smell?” Hmmm I had not yet showered but there was no way he could smell that with the sewage frothing right behind him. “Sewage” I respond as gently as I can. “Why?” I shrug. “I have no idea, it’s been flowing for a while [since beginning of December actually] and it’s supposed to be sorted sometime but not yet.” And we go back to talking about the robbery and the need for guards…and with a promise to urgently sort out all the issues he has witnessed he leaves. He calls me about ten minutes later to say “Auntie Vip, thank you”

Then tonight, Leroy Shukri and I go through Leviticus 8 for our devotions. The story of one sacrifice that Moses made with Aaron and his sons. A key verse stands out for us. ‘After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him.’ and again Romans 12:1 ‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him‘ Our Devotional Bible asks “So how do you smell before God?” We giggle about it. We talk about our lives and walks in the pattern of the sacrifice of Moses in this passage, which I will explain to you in another blog. We conclude, that we don’t want to be the ones to cause God to clench His Face at the gate, while we are presenting our sacrifices. We would hope that He judges our sacrifices as having a ‘pleasing aroma’, because we did everything ‘just as The LORD has commanded us to’.

So tell me beloved of The LORD, how do you smell? How does the living sacrifice that is your life. smell to God and Heaven’s witnesses?

 

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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About viphealthyleadership
I am a friend of God, who loves to listen to, and talk to Him and write to and through Him. My prayer concerns revolve mainly around homes and nations, and how Christ's wounded warriors can arise and get involved again in the building of these and in the repairwork needed to restore these to their God-intended glory. I believe that true and effective leadership, can only come from those who have been wounded, recognised their wounds for what they are, and have allowed God to heal these and make them stronger in loving the ones they would lead. I am a mother of two: Leroy and Shukurani and a grandmother of one - Giovanni Gett.

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