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Embracing Sacred Traditions: Introducing Incense into Your Home

Incense. Just the mention of it can evoke strong reactions within Christian circles. Some see it as controversial, while others cherish its rich symbolism and spiritual significance. Today, I'd love for us to put aside any prejudices we might have or a lack of understanding and delve into the history of incense, drawing upon its roots with the ancient Israelites and exploring its relevance and importance in the Christian home.

In the Old Testament, incense held a central role in the worship practices of the ancient Israelites. In the very beginning, as God established the Israelites as His people, he gave them rules to live by and specific instructions for how they were to worship. God commanded Moses to construct a golden altar for burning incense in the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:1-10). This fragrant offering was to be made with specific ingredients, carefully blended according to God's instructions. The rising smoke of incense created a sacred space and it also symbolized the prayers of the people ascending to heaven, creating a tangible connection with God.

From then on, the Israelites worshipped God with incense. We encounter numerous incense references throughout Scripture, further underscoring its significance. In the Psalms, King David writes, "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141:2). In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes heavenly scenes where incense is offered before the throne of God, signifying the prayers of the saints (Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4).

As Christians, we have inherited a rich liturgical tradition that incorporates incense into our worship as well. Just as the ancient Israelites used incense, so too have Christians around the world for centuries. The use of incense is a powerful tool that has profound symbolism and makes the spiritual tangible. Incense transforms a space from secular to sacred in a way that we can see and smell. As you see the smoke of incense rising in the church or in your home, as you smell the smell of frankincense or myrrh, we are made physically aware that we are in a sacred space, that God is with us, and that our prayers are rising up to him.

Introducing incense into your home is by no means mandatory for your Christian faith but by embracing the use of incense, we can open ourselves to a deeper, more meaningful worship experience, connecting with the ancient roots of our faith and fostering a sense of sacredness in our homes. Let the rising smoke of incense be a tangible reminder of our prayers ascending to heaven, as we seek to encounter God in our everyday lives!

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