“Gesundheit!”

May 2, 2022

“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.” ~ Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

I might be little, but I sneeze big. During allergy season in elementary school, when I sneezed the teacher in the classroom next door would step into the hallway and say, “Gesundheit, Findlay.”

In Cologne, France, I had a free hour to wander along the river late in the afternoon. I’d passed the business area and discovered a quieter neighborhood where families were strolling, and older people sat on benches overlooking the Rhine. I was feeling a bit down, aware of grief catching up with me. As I passed between 2 benches each occupied by older couples, I had to sneeze, and let go.

Four German accented voices called out, “Gesundheit.” God bless you. I was touched by the blessing, and the sense of God’s presence in the blessing. In response, I stopped, gave a thumbs up sign, and then said, “gracias, opps, merci, opps, danke!” They collectively laughed and clapped. I imagine they told that story over their dinners.

Giving a blessing is a little thing. In that moment, it was BIG for me. I felt the Lord’s blessing, keeping me, shining upon me, giving me peace that was beyond understanding, that transcended culture and language, that was a gracious gift of God passed on in a simple blessing.

The sense of blessing continued into the next day when first thing in the morning I caught sight of the sun rising in the east.

Sunrise on the Rhine, Netherlands

“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.” ~ Anne

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