Monday, May 17, 2010

Achoo! (by Carolyn)

Bless you!

Huh? Why?

There are some common beliefs about the orgin of "Bless you!" after a sneeze although none are definitive. One is familiar to most. Legend says people once believed the heart stopped beating during a sneeze and a hearty bless you encouraged it to start again.

One reaches back to the bubonic plague. According to Wikipedia, Pope Gregory I was installed about the time the plague was reaching Rome. To fight off the illness he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets of Rome because sneezing was thought to be the first symptom . People prayed for God's blessing and favor to keep them safe.

Another says people believed the soul was thrown from the body during a sneeze leaving the body open to invasion by Satan or his minions, or conversely that the evil spirits already possessed the body and this was its way of expelling them. Either way, to be blessed was to be protected from evil.

When our pastor mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, it got me thinking. As a Christian is that all the witnessing I do? Is all I can muster a hearty "Bless you!" as a way of communicating to others that I believe in God and they should too? What about Jesus? I have left Him out entirely. How pathetic is that? It occurred to me, I am the one in desperate need of courage and conviction.

Recently, a guest pastor from India preached passionately about Christians in his country and many countries who are so hated for their beliefs they are killed. Others are subject to brutal beatings, family members might be killed, or their livelihoods destroyed and their churches burned. How are they known for their faith? They say so. Publicly. In the square.

What am I afraid of? Offending someone? That IS pathetic. The Bible says in Galatians 5:11 that people don't want to be told they cannot manage their own salvation. Some don't acknowledge they need salvation, or that there is salvation at all. Our pride and arrogance don't want to admit we cannot save ourselves, or that there is something to be saved from. The cross is offensive. So is its exclusivity.

Christians believe only the Holy Spirit working through the heart of man, can save. Revelation 3:20 says, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me." But we have responsibility too. Jesus laid it out in Mark 16:15. "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation!" Message to self, "Say so!" Oh, and by the way, may God bless you heartily, whether you sneeze...........or not!

1 comment:

  1. The Bible says that if God is for us, who can be against us. Also that "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." What in the world do we have to fear. So achoo, God bless you, and "Let's exalt His Name together"!