In honor of allergy season, I have brought back an oldie, but goodie.  I wrote this allegory in April 2013 for a writing competition. I placed Second in the Masters Division. Enjoy!


    One blustery Sunday morning, not too long ago, 50 faithful followers filed into Sacred Heart Christian Church. They cheerfully greeted one another with holy hugs and handshakes, and as was his habit, Norville Knott welcomed first-time visitors and said the opening prayer. Then, right on cue, the pipe organ burst into a rousing stanza of Count Your Blessings.

    In the shadows, Pastor Godfrey Syntax silently thanked God for the privilege of pastoring this little flock, and as the final praise chorus ascended into glory, he stepped onto the stage.

    "Good morning, beloved of ..." Pastor Syntax stopped in mid-sentence. A sudden tickle in his throat choked his words. His eyes itched, and his nose began to burn. He quickly pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and awaited the inevitable outcome.

    "A-a-a-a-Choo!" The pastor's amplified sneeze vibrated the walls. Later it would be said that this sneeze not only woke up Hollis Thompson, it also caused a few curious teenagers to remove their hidden ear-buds.

    "God bless you," Merry Goodwyn shouted from the back pew. 

    "Gesundheit," chimed Mr. Schultz.

    Pastor Syntax blew into his handkerchief. "Thank you so much... Whew! That sneeze sure did take me by surprise... Now, where was I?" He sniffled as he scrutinized his notes. His quick smile and confident demeanor immediately set everyone at ease. 

    "Good morning, beloved of God! If you have your Bible, please turn with me to Psalm 84:12."  He waited for the people to find the passage. Then, as the room quieted, he began to read the verse aloud, "LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you."

    Pastor Syntax gazed around the room at his little flock. "Beloved, today I wish to speak to you about the far-flung topic of your sneeze-life."

    Sniffles, snorts, and giggles rippled through the congregation. Pastor Syntax chuckled, then continued... "Would you agree that all of us, at one time or another, have sneezed?" Several people nodded. 

    There was a soft whirring as the media team advanced the slide presentation— FOR ALL HAVE SNEEZED.

    "Beloved, we can’t deny the obvious. It’s clear that ALL have sneezed. Some sneeze loudly; others sneeze quietly. Some sneeze outwardly; others sneeze inwardly. Some use tissue; others prefer a handkerchief. A sneeze is a sneeze, and I'm here to tell you that...We are all sneezers!"

    Several people squirmed in their seats. Carol Birdwell sheepishly glanced at her husband who was busy wiping his nose.  Pastor Syntax alerted the media team, and the next slide flashed onto the screen—GOD LOVES ALL SNEEZERS

    He flipped through his notes and resumed his message.

    "Intermittent sneezing affects everyone. One sneeze on an airplane and you'll suddenly find yourself sitting alone. The other passengers look down their noses at you and most are certain that you have brought an infectious disease on board. Yes, it’s true... our sneezes affect other people."

    "That’s right!" Mr. Lovall bellowed from the first row.

    Pastor Syntax sipped some fresh water. "In closing, for those of you who think you've hidden your sneezes. Don’t be fooled any longer. God knows you sneeze, and due to the ever-active grapevine in this church, everyone else knows it too.

    I know it seems hopeless, but I have marvelous news. GOD LOVES ALL SNEEZERS. He loves quiet sneezers and loud sneezers. He loves those who sneeze into a bent elbow or the tail of their shirt. He even loves sneezers who don't cover their nose. Some people say that you must stop sneezing before you can receive God's love. False! God loves us, mucus and all. Will you accept his gift today? Will you allow him to clean up your sneeze-life? I promise you will never regret it!" Pastor Syntax closed with a simple prayer and waited for God's people to respond. 

    Revival broke out at Sacred Heart Christian Church that day. Many people received God's gift of love. They still struggle with their sneeze-life but are fully convinced that God loves them anyway. Every Sunday morning 100 faithful followers file into the worship center. They greet one another with holy hugs and handshakes and continue to grow in God's grace.

    For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

    Remember this... you are loved, and you are always in my prayers.

    In Christ, Cheryl

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