Today I was graced with a precious treasure: a pikake lei by a student's mom. Hundreds of intensely fragrant pikake buds were woven together into a beautiful garland. She kissed me and hugged me, as is the custom, and then adorned me with the sweetest aroma I have ever known. She warned me that everywhere I went today people would want to come near me to smell the lei. And she was right. Several of my Hawaii friends told me how blessed I was to get this particular lei; it is mostly used as a bride's lei. I was honored beyond words.
The custom of leis is such a precious picture of being a Christian to me. God loves us and draws us to Himself, give us the gift of salvation through His Son, and places a garland of grace upon us. His work in us is so real, so complete, that the difference of His presence is noticed immediately. The fragrant aroma of Christ in our lives draws others near to Him. I am told that if I am gentle and faithful in caring for this lei, it can last up to 3 or 4 days. The sacrifice of time and effort for this lei is tremendous, yet it pales in comparison to the sacrifice of Christ. The sweet fragrance of this lei will last a few days but the joy of salvation will last forever.
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him."
2 Cor. 2:14