Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God be with ye

When i was a full-time missionary in southern Germany and western Austria, a lot of the members of the church (and nearly all of the full-time missionaries) there took issue with a part of the local culture: the common greeting Grüß Gott!

The main issue was the use of Gott ‘God’ in the greeting—it was perceived as a violation of the commandment not to take the name of God in vain.

I never really bought into that, though, particularly since i recognized it for what it actually means—it’s a wish for God’s blessing to come on the one being greeted.

Do i think that everyone who used this greeting meant precisely that? No. But am i going to urge people not to say it even if they mean it? Also no.

But then again, i also use Goodbye! even though it’s at least as much a use of the word God as Grüß Gott! is,* so i guess it’s not something i care to worry about very much.

* Yep.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

There is seriously a difference between saying "God be with you" and "Oh, my God." In the one you are giving pleasantries and wishing them well (is it much different from saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes?) and in the other you are calling on God and as someone said in a lesson I had once, God says "Yes?" and you don't respond because you were just saying his name for no reason and that wastes God's time, thus taking His name in vain. I think God would be thrilled to do as you ask when you say "God be with you." Did they have an issue with singing "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" in church?