Guatemala 2016 | The Scent of Christ

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I caught the scent of Christ

in Guatemala.

There were flowers blooming


orchid, hibiscus, bird of paradise—

and their perfume filled the air.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.52.06 AMBut it wasn’t until

I stood on the far side of the

National Cemetery

and looked out over the

Guatemala City dump

that I caught the scent of Christ

wafting up from the tons

of garbage

that provide daily bread

for the dispossessed.

Christ smells like garbage

and I stood on that precipice

and breathed deeply

of the aroma of God.

I’ve read that grace,

like water,

pools in the lowest places.

If that’s true

then there are vast reservoirs

of grace

in the ravine community

known as La Limonada.

In fact,

in the bottom of that ravine

is a rushing river

unlike the river

from John’s vision on Patmos.

This is no river of life.

It is a river of sewage,

vile and filthy,

and the sound of those

rushing waters

is like the voice of

the son of man.

the first and the last,

alive from the dead.

It was in Guatemala

that I read

the other names

of Christ.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 10.56.52 AMNames engraved

on pillars

in the courtyard

of the National Cathedral.

Strange names–


Las Lomas,



the tortured,

the murdered,

the disappeared.

It’s written that

at his name

every knee will bow.

So I bowed mine

and wept.

In Guatemala

I met the Christ

of the poor,

the powerless,

the despised and rejected.

And truly,

he has no beauty

or majesty

to attract us to him.

But now that I know

his name,

how he looks

and sounds

and smells,

it may be


to find him here


Addison County, Vermont.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.32.28 PMTim pastors a small country church in rural Vermont where family, community and creation all come together to help shape a way of following Christ and provide ample space for reflecting and writing about this journey. Read more of Tim’s writings on his blog: