I said this not long ago to someone who looked at me, puzzled: “but I didn’t sneeze.”
Pope Gregory I must be getting dizzy, turning over in his grave. He’s the one who mandated intercession 24/7 during the plague of 590 AD. Anyone who sneezed was to be blessed immediately (“God bless you!”) to ward off illness.
Now there’s a man who knew the power of blessing.
My great-grandfather was another. Andrew E. Mitchell was an artist, a Bible teacher, and founder with his wife Jennie of a missionary organization called “Go Ye Fellowship.” Blessing others was the cornerstone of their marriage and their ministry, and that continued in their children and grandchildren. By the time I came along, “Bless” was a kind of family motto, heard as often as “bless you!” to a sneeze.
This weekend, 120 of us gathered for a family reunion. The word “Bless” in Andrew Mitchell’s calligraphy adorned everything from save-the-dates to family trees. I sat there looking at all the faces, thinking of how God has blessed us through all kinds of trials and ways we’ve passed that blessing on to others. I don’t want to take that for granted. In the spirit of Andrew and Jennie, I want to share the “secret” of blessing with you. Here’s what they wrote about it, 80 years ago:
To BLESS every occasion of which I am a part; to be that vital contact with Heaven through whom God can reach a struggling soul; to have that clean feeling of pure power after every conversation, and know that my words have actually blessed; that to me is life as God intended me to have it.
To have a home, a shelter home, wherein a stranger passing the night with us would depart in the morning blessed; and to have that Abrahamic heritage, that my children, looking back, will bless us, then will carry the word on to a thousand generations; that, I say, is what the Lord invested in the word “Bless.”
And best of all, as the word swings on back in its eternal orbit, it actually blesses God. Strange indeed wherein the creature can actually bless the Creator! I would not miss that priceless word, would you? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his Holy Name.”
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The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22)
 The name of the organization is taken from Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Go-Ye Fellowship has been sending missionaries into all the world since 1932.