I’m sitting in Atlanta Bread Company when, behind me, I hear someone sneeze, and immediately (twice, for good measure), the obligatory, “God bless you!”

What is it about sneezing that makes people talk so freely about God? I don’t get it. I didn’t grow up in a home where we reflexively said, “God bless you” when someone sneezed, and I’ve always thought it was the strangest of things to do at a time when someone was spewing snot all over the place. I mean, that seems at least to be on the borderline of taking the Lord’s name in vain, doesn’t it? I grant that it’s meant well, but I seriously doubt that people are really considering the majesty and glory of the Lord when invoking this “blessing”.

But here’s a thought: are there implications for evangelism to be found in this everyday event? I mean, “sneeze for Jesus”, just to get a stranger to say, “God bless you”, and then launch into an exposition of the gospel?

Uh…maybe not…

7 responses »

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve heard that your heart stops beating in the instant you sneeze and saying “God Bless you” is the way to bring you back to life again! Ironically, I just sneezed twice after typing the last sentence! Who knows where these urban legends come from!

  2. Byron says:

    And I trust you file that “wisdom” in the appropriately-numbered file, Chris…I mean, since most of my sneezes happen in private, I should be dead by now! 🙂

  3. Mark Merritt says:

    I’ve heard that sneezing was considered an act of expelling evil spirits from one’s body. The blessing was meant to keep them out!

    Like you Byron, we never say that in my house after nasal expectoration. I just wanted to write nasal expectoration lol.

    Happy new year.

    I was kinda hoping the Lord would return this year but it looks like there’s plenty of work to still do…

    Huck in 08!

  4. Graham says:

    I had always assumed that it was something to do with the Black Death, with sneezing as a sign of it.

    I find though, that people drop the “God” from “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

  5. Graham says:

    By the way, is this the first time that snot has ever been mentioned in a theological discussion??!!

  6. Byron says:

    No, Graham, I’m sure Martin Luther used it on many occasions, along with other less-than-tasteful bodily function references.

  7. Alec says:

    It’s because most people are stupid and still believe that old wive’s tale that you are more susceptible to demon possession when you sneeze, and that by saying “God bless you” you are saved. I believe that we have come far enough as a collective race to understand that sneezing is a natural biological function that many mammals exhibit (not just humans. do the animals have to bless each other? no, because they’re not retarded) and that sneezing has nothing to do with God.

    However, I guess I am wrong

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