The Scent Of Jesus

My supervisor at work mentioned this yesterday, and I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about: something about a scented candle that smells like Jesus. We joked around at the end of the day, speculating that Jesus would actually smell like sawdust, the dust of the road, wine, bread, olive oil, old sandals… and blood.

But then I ran across it in another Episcopal blog and a well known “tech/culture” blog, and realized it was, incredibly, a real product:

Now there’s a candle that lets you experience the scent of Jesus, and they’ve been selling out by the case.

“We see it as a ministry, ” says Bob Tosterud, who together with his wife came up with the idea for the candle.

Light up the candle called “His Essence” and its makers say you’ll experience the fragrance of Christ.

Bob Tosterud and wife Karen say the formula is all spelled out in Psalm 45.

“It’s a Messianic Psalm referring to when Christ returns and his garments will have the scent of myrrh, aloe and cassia,” says Karen Tosterud.

Interesting, I would have thought it was a reference to King David, but that’s the beauty of metaphor.

The candles are sold via a website and they’ve sold more than 10,000 so far. The lines from the Psalm that inspired this product are

Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, *
a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom;
you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you *
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, *
and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.

Candles are important in our worship – there is a Presence light that burns perpetually in the sanctuary, and there are smaller votive candles in stands on either side. One side is devoted to Mary, with a small prie-dieu (kneeling stand) next to it. The other side is devoted to remembering the dead. During worship there are often a pair of torches that accompany the Gospel in procession.

On Maundy Thursday, a week from today, the Presence light will be taken from its normal position just to the right of the Tabernacle (the small gated enclosed cupboard behind the altar) and moved over to the side altar next to the remembrance votives, and the entire area will be dressed as an Altar of Repose, all in white and surrounded by lilies and other candles.

At Easter, a Paschal candle will be baptized by dipping it in the font, and nails will be pressed into it to form a cross. Candles don’t just symbolize Christ for us, they often stand in for Him. Although ours aren’t scented, the incense that we occasionally burn will have to do.


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