What’s in a Sneeze?

Sunday Morning Musings:  I sneezed one day this past week and my grandson said: “Bless you.”  The words were no sooner out of his mouth when he began to explain to me why he had said them.  Knowing his wealth of knowledge about many things I was intrigued by his comments.  It seems as if he had read somewhere that some time ago when disease was more rampant than it is today, that sneezing was considered as an expulsion from the body of “evil spirits” that could cause illness and therefore one deserved to be blessed upon sneezing.

It all made sense to me but also got me thinking about being “blessed”.   Often times when someone sneezes we will put the word “God” at the beginning – God bless you.  Now I know that if I don’t sneeze it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t bless me, right?

As it turns out there has also been a great deal in the news over the past week or so about hurricane Harvey and how one of the mega-churches in Texas didn’t immediately open its doors to take in “victims” of the flooding.  The pastor (if I can use that term) is one of those who preaches a “prosperity gospel”.  I understand from what I have read that the idea of a prosperity gospel claims that if I focus on being financially healthy and pray in the correct way or use the right words or whatever, that God will bless me.

Of course, the opposite of this must mean that if I am not wealthy or something bad happens to me that I do not have God’s blessing.  Holding this principle of faith to be true, I have to think that bad weather is a way for the “almighty” to affect revenge on “the unfaithful”.  Sadly, there are those who have this kind of faith.   If this is the case one can easily understand Gandhi as having said:  ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’

Christianity is given a bad rap by those who hear and see (witness) the unloving and uncompassionate way that those who profess to be followers of the Christ live their lives.  Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, the only acceptable response to another’s need is with love.  There have been wonderful photos of people helping each other and even more importantly, colour and beliefs don’t seem to matter.

Over the coming weeks and years much will be written about open and closed doors, and open and closed hearts.  Regardless of one’s religious beliefs or even non-religious ones, the bottom line has little if anything to do with prosperity or not.  It has to do solely (soully?) with our desire to be loving and compassion or to choose to wait for someone to tell us what we should or should not do.

When we care for each other – our God, our neighbours, our enemies, as being important to us, we can and will make a difference.  We will know what it feels like to be blessed. Yes, we may use old phrases when one sneezes, but just as science has taught us why we may sneeze, we also have the capability (if not the will) to care for one another.  If we wait for God to bless us, we have missed the boat (again excuse the pun which is not intended).  God doesn’t hand out blessings (or curses) just because we might like it that way. The fact that we live in a world that may feel like it is going to hell in a hand basket is all our own doing and has nothing whatsoever to do with God, or whatever word we might use.

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