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Back to Our Senses 3: Smell

To reflect on the importance of our sense of smell

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To reflect on the importance of our sense of smell.

Preparation and materials

This is the third in a series of five assemblies looking at Jesus’ response to our senses.

You will need:

  • a ‘smell-o-meter’. You can find a template here: which you might like to enlarge, as well as the twelve different smells which should be taped under some chairs before the audience arrives.

Bible reading

Mark 14.3–9.

Assembly

             Introduction

  1. Isn’t it great to be able to smell? Your favourite perfume or body spray when you first put it on, bacon sandwiches, freshly cut grass, a lovely bouquet of flowers … the list goes on and on. Even nasty smells have their uses. When milk goes off, its horrible whiff tells us not to pour it on our cornflakes, and without smell mothers wouldn’t know when to change their babies nappies!
  2. Imagine not being able to smell – the world would become a completely different place without the sense of smell. For one thing, our noses would only be useful for keeping our glasses on!
  3. Most of us take being able to smell for granted, but just how often do we even think about the smells that we experience everyday?

    Interactive exercise

  4. Introduce your audience to your ‘smell-o-meter’, which has a scale from ‘Absolutely great’ to ‘Absolutely awful’.
  5. Get the children to look under their chairs where some will find pieces of paper (which you have taped there earlier) with smelly things written or drawn on them (dirty socks, a bonfire, fish and chips, petrol, soap, strong cheese, a wet dog, a bunch of roses, burnt toast, fresh bread, suntan cream).
  6. Get these children to tell the rest of the audience what smell they have got, then ask them to place their smell where they think they should go on the smell-o-meter. Ask a few for their reasons for placing them where they have. When they have finished, thank them and send them back to their seats.
  7. Our sense of smell is very important to us. Jesus thought so too. On one occasion, while he was on the earth, he appreciated the smell of expensive perfume.
  8. Let’s read about that together.

    Bible reading

  9. Mark 14.3–9.
  10. This woman was desperate to show Jesus how much she appreciated what he had done for her. Jesus knew that and knew what this sweet smelling perfume signified. He said that what she had done would be talked about forever – and we are talking about it right now!

  11. Smelling with our noses is important, but the Bible also says that we can be a sweet smell in the world around us. As you go through life make sure that you end up on the fragrant end of the smell-o-meter!

Time for reflection

Reflection:

Spiritual smell

Sometimes the things that we say are like a bad smell, filling the air around us with obscene language, indecent comments and offensive names.

Pour out the perfume of thanks, encouragement and love.

Sometimes the things that we think are like a bad smell, filling our heads with greed, selfishness and lack of concern for others.

Pour out the perfume of kindness, consideration and love.

Sometimes the things that we do are like a bad smell, filling the world with the consequences of foolish actions and ignorant choices.

Pour out the perfume of wisdom, goodness and love.

 

Make good use of every opportunity you have.

Pour out the perfume of love.

(Based on Ephesians 5.1–5)

 

Prayer:

Thank you, Father God, for the gift of smell.

Help us not to take it for granted but to enjoy all that smells so beautiful in the world around us.

Show us how we can be a sweet smell in the world in which we live.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Hymn

‘He made me' (Come and Praise, 18)

Publication date: June 2005   (Vol.7 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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