Dry season, Barunga, sneezes, bless you

First it was the pollen in the air, and then the dry, fine dust of the Top End.

But the Barunga festival was the icing on the cake for my sinuses.

I returned home sniffling, nose running and sneezing like I never have before.

What does this have to do with anything?

And why is the Rev writing about sneezing this week?

Well, it’s the dark side of living here, isn’t it?

Our little dirty (or dusty) secret. In the interest of truth telling I’m going to get the word out: the top end dry season may be awesome (and it is), but bring your Nasonex along, and spare boxes of tissues.

That brings me to the other sneezing effect – the obligatory “bless you” to follow it up. It’s like if you don’t say it, you’re rude.

How did that happen? Harkening back to the plague, where a sneeze might be the prelude to death, ‘bless you’ is a pre-emptive strike – invoking a deity to look on you favourably, just in case you’re next.

But is that how we expect blessing to occur? – you know, following a tickling of the nasal passage? ‘Bless you’ and up pops a deity, to dispense good fortune on the poor runny-nosed sneezer?

Sounds pretty random and impersonal to me. Nothing like the Jesus I know.​

St Paul’s Anglican Church meets on Sundays@9am with kids church. All welcome.