Nancy sneezed. I was in my downstairs office, she was in her upstairs office. And I heard her sneeze in the quiet of the house.
“Bless you,” I said via Facebook Messenger. (I’m not going to holler it.)
And then I asked her for a word.
“Bless you,” she answered via Facebook Messenger.
We do talk face-to-face. Often. But we also often email, text, call, and message. Because we want to offer each other our words, our awareness, our sympathy, our ideas, our commiseration. When we leave the house, in our separate directions, we say, “Be careful.” As if our usual way of life is to be reckless, to drive with abandon, to look for accidents and drive toward them.
But there are things that we say to one another, ways that we act toward one another, that are caring habits.
And saying “bless you” is one of those.
It’s short, I suppose, for the words that God told Aaron to use to bless the people of Israel:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
It’s not really a prayer, since it is directed to the people, not to God. Yet it comes from God and conveys his desire to care for his people.
It’s a blessing.Talking to each other while completely aware of God. Asking and desiring the goodness of God to rest on the life of the other, reminding them of His power and presence and capacity.
I’m not sure that a sneeze requires that reminder. But I’m pretty sure everything else in our lives could benefit.
Be careful. Bless you.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Jordan Chapple about what caring looks like in a congregational setting. I thought you might like to listen in. Caring