The Sneeze

They walked in tandem, each of the 92 students filing into the nearly crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional mortarboards (caps), they looked almost as grown-up as they felt. Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and moms freely brushed away tears.

This class would not pray during commencement-not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it. The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by this ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance, and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were routine…until the final speech received a standing ovation. A solitary student walked proudly to the rostrum. He stood still and silent before the microphone for just a moment. Then it happened. All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED! The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, “God bless you, each and every one of you!” then he walked off the stage. The audience exploded in applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future– with or without the court’s approval.

(This is a true story. It happened at the University of Maryland)

Submitted by B. Zelazo



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