Sights, sounds and smells

Pastor Cory Mitchell recounts the everyday sights, sounds, and smells that awaken us to the new way of the Spirit.

On the fourteenth day of Advent, 2021, Cory Mitchell recounts the everyday sights, sounds, and smells that awaken us to the new way of the Spirit.

Sights, sounds and smells


But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

                                                                                                                      Romans 7:6 ESV



As someone who has spent over two decades in the service industry – behind a metre of mahogany, a coffee machine or a maze of stainless steel benches curating space for others – there are sights and sounds and smells that I associate with newness. The sound of a coffee machine engine whirring at the beginning of a new day. Beans being poured – and rushing – from a new tin or a bag into a hop, steam wands stretching milk before pouring a silky new latte. Bottles clanking together as they are removed from boxes, wiped and placed on shelves before dinner service. The smell of fresh bread in the morning, or fresh muffins being baked and walked from kitchen to counter. Knives being sharpened and moving and chopping on boards before new prep begins. Staff laughing as they walk through the back door before breakfast service, bleary eyed, tired, yawning and laughing all at once while begging for an espresso believing that it will resurrect their sleepy souls to life. 

All of these sights, sounds, and smells hold for me, as a hospitality veteran, the promise of newness; a new day, new beginnings, new opportunities, new relationships, and new experiences.

I’m reminded, in these sights, sounds, and smells that the old is gone and that the new – a new way of being,  and bringing, and doing – has come and is still coming.

These sights and sounds and smells are more than just hopeful ideals, they are a call to get to work.

When the coffee machine is on, beans are in the hop, and the staff espressos have been consumed, it is time to move; to prepare and begin serving.

These sights and sounds – in my everyday, ordinary context – of newness remind me that the promise of God’s Spirit has arrived while inviting me to participate in seeing the fullness of that same promise fully delivered as I engage in the work and witness of truth-telling (the kind that sets us free), restoration, (re)conciliation and renewal in, with, and by, the Spirit through active, amplified and embodied service.

Do you see it and hear it too?


Cory is loved by Jesus, father to the Big 3 (CJ, Jflo and Eazy-E), husband of Jayne, and a hospitality and ministry practitioner with a couple decades of life and leadership experience under his belt in both spaces. Cory has owned, sold and managed a number of hospitality venues across Melbourne, Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Country, while leading and serving in youth, young adult, associate and executive pastoral roles within a local ACC Church for 16 years before moving to the Churches of Christ and taking on the Lead Pastor gig with Steeple Church back in 2017.



As we move rapidly towards the Christmas season, and the promise of a new year, make us aware, and awake to, the sights and sounds and smells.

May we live the fragrance and the flavour of the Creator Spirit that is present and active,

               in all of the ordinary and mundane moments,

                                   that we stumble into, 

                                   tumble around in, and

                                   fumble our way through

               each and every day. 


May we serve in such a way that makes room for others to experience – to taste and see,

                the new life, new way, new possibilities, and 

                the new creation

                                  that has been poured out and fully found in the Spirit - 

                                  who has made, 

                                  and is making, 

                                  all things new, 

                 right now and in the yet to come. . .



Photograph: John Englezos, Sunset, Karkarook Lake, Frankston, Bunurong Country, Victoria

Visual Description: Vivid pink and deep grey clouds swirl over trees on the shore of the lake at sunset.




This devotional is part of a series of daily email devotionals for Advent 2021. This year's series reflects on the opportunity we have this Advent to step into a new day with the expectant hope of the birth of Jesus. Would you like to receive the rest of this email series?

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Advent: A New Day