October 11, 2015 -
"RAISING OUR SIGHTS FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN”
Entering our Churches during divine services is truly a sensory experience. Standing
in the shadows of the flickering candlelight, we find ourselves surrounded by the sacred
images of the saints, bringing to life the meaningful stories of the Bible that we have
grown to love. We are enveloped by the melodic hymns being sung by the choir. Adding
to the solemn atmosphere that is so prevalent in our Church is the sweet aroma of
The burning of the incense has been part of religious traditions for centuries. Noah
presented "burnt offerings to the Lord upon leaving the Ark. God instructed
Moses to continually offer incense before the Holy of Holies in the wilderness tabernacle.
Today, during the funeral service we cense the body of the deceased to pay respect to the
"temple of the Holy Spirit" which God will one day bring back to life.
Even St. Paul alluded in Ephesians 5:2 to this idea of a "fragrant offering."
He wrote "Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, a fragrant offering and a sacrafice
As believing in Christians, the meaning of incense is rich and varied. It is a reminder
to us that as the smoke from the burning incense rises, our prayers ascend to heaven.
When a priest censes the sanctuary and holy icons, he is reverencing that which they represent.
In like manner, when the faithful are censed by a priest, we are reminded that we have all been created
in God's image.