Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saying Grace

An Inkling
I’ll never forget the blessing at the family reunion.  One of the men began to say grace.  And he said grace.  And he said grace.  Finally, right in the middle of one of his sentences, a little boy shouted, “Amen!”  And that was the end of that!
All of us have had some funny “saying grace” experiences.  Kids say the darndest things, adults say the most inane things, and all the while most of us are thinking about what we’re going to eat first.  How can we best “say grace?”
First there’s the matter of length.  Some saints love to pray at length.  So they use the table grace to thank God for each family blessing since 1947, work their way through to Aunt Minnie’s rheumatism, and wind up praying for the economy.  All the while the food is cooling, the cook is heating, and everyone is longing for that precious word, “Amen.”  How long should the prayer be?  Long enough to thank God for the occasion, the company, the cook, and the food.  When it comes to table grace, less is more.
Then there’s the matter of occasion.  In many homes grace is occasional, unless the religious kinfolk or the minister are visiting.  You can recognize such homes because the kids are half way through their meal by the time you sit down, and are baffled when the red-faced parent asks, “Why are you eating before we pray?”  The Kingdom of God will not be hindered if we miss a table grace.  But if we truly want to follow the scripture’s encouragement to pray at all times, this is a simple way to prime the pump.  And besides, those who thank God for the food find it harder to complain about the food!
Then there is the matter of what to say.  Many speak some form of “Bless this food to our bodies and us to thy service.”  I have never thought that it made much sense to ask God to bless food that is obviously good already.  I generally trust the cook to bless the food, and so I thank God for providing it.  However, sometimes I have found it necessary to bless the food itself – like when I’m the cook or when someone serves liver. 
We are richly blessed, and God is worthy of every “thank you” we offer.  Saying grace is one good way to do so.  Don’t miss your chance. 
Let us pray,


Monday, March 3, 2014

What's In a Name?

An Inkling
Back in the days of swelling bellies and approaching due dates, Sarah and I would have long conversations about names.  We never could agree on boys’ names, other than that we would not have a Keith Jr., with the inevitable modifiers Big and Little.
As it turned out, we didn’t need to agree on boys' names.  We were privileged to launch three daughters into this world, all of whom have family names.
So I never imagined there would ever be another Keith in the family.  But since Friday there is.  Davis Keith Hood was born to Dorothy and Brandon, and they plan to call him Keith.
His name was almost a foregone conclusion – his dad, paternal grandfather, and maternal grandfather (me) all have Keith as a middle name.  The boy was going to be tagged Keith one way or the other.
I still don’t know what I think of this, but it is great fun.  And I did notice that he has bigger muscles than any other newborn I’ve ever seen.  I know of no other explanation than the name.
Since some of my more questionable traits were planted by my maternal grandfather (see my Feb. 10 blog), I have to hope that this grandfather won’t have too bad an effect on his namesake grandson.  Rather, if new Keith can see even a glimmer of God’s grace in old Keith, I’ll be satisfied.  That and maybe a bit of mischief for good measure…
Welcome New Keith!

Old Keith