With the cold and flu season approaching rapidly I’d like to say in advance God Bless you!
The concept of blessing is important. The practice of blessing someone who sneezes, some say goes back as far back as at least AD 77(Pliny- Roman historian) , however, it appears to be far older than most specific explanations can account for.
One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I; became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets. At the time, sneezing was thought to be an early symptom of the plague. The blessing “Kyrie Eleison” (Greek for “Lord have mercy”) was spoken at the person in need. When someone sneezed, they were immediately blessed (“God bless you!”) in the hope that they would not subsequently develop the plague. All that prayer apparently worked, judging by how quickly the plague of 590 AD diminished.
A second explanation reasons that a person’s soul could be pushed out of the body during a violent sneeze. The Devil would have opportunity to take the soul, therefore the idea of God Bless you would protect a person from harm.
A third explanation was a demon had been sneezed out of the person and God Bless you would prevent the re-entry of the demon.
Some go so far as to use the expression flippantly as – good morning, a simple habit with no good intent behind it.
The words bless, blessed and, blessing are found over 500 times in the Bible and described such diverse things as rain, bumper crops, babies and, most important salvation from sin. Our English word blessed is thought to have come from the old English verb blestian , which meant, to consecrate through blood. The Latin word benediction means to speak well of, and the Greek word to eulogize also means to speak well of. The major Hebrew word for blessed is “Barak” the root of which means to bow the knee in worship. God’s blessing then, involves a price to pay – the shed blood of Jesus – and submission to the Lord that says, not my will but your will be done. Warren Wiersbe
To bless someone in a Biblical manner a blessing is an act of God that brings Him glory by accomplishing His will and helping people to grow and do His will. This is much more than an offhand comment made when we want to express concern for a stranger who happens to be allergic or slightly sick.
Our purpose is to be a blessing to others when we have the opportunity. To act on what we know, in accordance with God’s words and His purposes is the definition of wisdom. Wiesbe writes “ You can’t buy God’s blessing or manufacture them; they can come only from the LORD. When they occur, the best thing to do is accept them graciously, and give thanks to God.”
Grace is the great gift that God gives to meet a need we could not meet.
Grace comes in a manner we could never understand.
Grace is God’s blessing on the undeserving that brings Glory to His name.
God Bless you!
Photo by gw.wang
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