Worship: The Aroma Of Hope

The fragrance is overwhelming.

There is a worship wisdom that unmistakably emanates from the historic writings of many past and ancient Christians. While writing from their unique times, unique places and unique worldviews, one only needs to read a few words from Therese de Liseux, Bernard of Clairvaux, or Irenaeus of Lyon to sense something desperately needed in our times. In the face of their own seemingly insurmountable challenges, their words are often fragrant with the scent of hope. Living in hope is a formidable task in our generation. Life is hard, and while the culture around us can be beautiful, it can also be dehumanizing.

The role of the lead worshipper in a community, leading with new songs or with ancient liturgy, is to support the Christian in living in hope. Strong lyrics, music, images and art can carry aromas that draw us to embrace once again a God-centric worldview. Art and music can be aromatic with an expectation that heaven’s reality will bleed into our daily reality, and can restore the memory to us that new creation and right-relationships are “the order of the day” for the follower of Jesus.

Such worship incense can lift the soul beyond the pain of existence, into a living hope. Hope, in the 21st century world, is the perfume of God’s presence.

Suggested Reading: Devotional Classics, edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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