February 26th 2009

“Cutty Sark Is A Tea Clipper!”

“Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave Himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to Him.”
Ephesians 5:2 (NLT)

The Cutty Sark is the only survivor of the great British tea-clippers. She was launched in 1869 and is now being restored and renovated at Greenwich, following the fire on board a couple of years ago which almost totally destroyed her.

Apparently the name comes from a poem by Robbie Burns, which tells of a Scottish farmer who was chased by the young witch Nannie, who wore only her “cutty sark” or “short shift”. The ship’s figurehead is a representation of the witch with her arm outstretched to catch the tail of the farmer’s grey mare on which he was escaping.

A lady who visited this famous ship some years ago declared, “The Cutty Sark is a tea-clipper! No one who goes aboard her can remain unaware of the many tons of tea she has carried across the world from China. Tea is in the very air, and every plank of her decks is steeped in its lingering fragrance.”

Isn’t that interesting. You can identify the purpose of this vessel; the reason for its being; the special design behind its creation – just by the aroma it gives off.

In the same way you can identify flowers by their fragrance. I’m sure many of us could if we were given a test name lots of flowers just by their smell. For example: Lavender, Rose, Pinks, Honeysuckle… and on and on it goes. Why is this? Well, the aroma of every flower points right back to the source. In a TV gardening programme, one expert who was interviewed declared that he could identify 5000 flowers from their fragrance alone. What a great nose! This aroma is of course is exuded by the oil that the plant produces. Crush a lavender leaf in your hand, and that distinctive aroma will linger on your skin for hours.

Paul tells the Corinthian church in his second letter chapter 2 and verse 15, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ amongst those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (NIV). What a big, big responsibility.

The aroma of tea revealed the Cutty Sark’s identity and purpose. So we mere mortals who profess the Saviour of the world are drenched, soaked, suffused with His beautiful and exquisite perfume. Revealing our identity and purpose to everyone we come in contact with on our daily journey.

We know very well that fragrance rubs off on others. When my little grandson was about two years old his mother would tell him “You smell of your grandfather’s aftershave.” Why was this? Well, it was usually after we had been crawling around the floor together or sitting snuggled up reading his favourite stories. Close contact stuff or as we say, “Up close and personal!”

I believe this is the secret behind the perfume of Jesus – the closer we get to Him the more we carry. Just like the fragrant tea that Cutty Sark carried over those long sea miles from China. Like her and as a direct result of this fragrance of Jesus we too reveal the purpose, the reason, and the special design behind our creation!

An old Asian proverb says: “The fragrance of holiness travels even against the wind.”

Thank you Lord for your precious fragrance in our lives. May we continue to distribute, to diffuse and scatter it wherever we go…to Your glory.

Study by Cliff NeillĀ 

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