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,