Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meal Time

Deuteronomy 8:10 And thou shalt eat and be satisfied and shalt bless the Lord thy God for the goodly land which he has given thee.

There was a young man that I had the privledge of being an uncle to for many years. I'm not sure if he even remembers me, but I still think of him from time to time. His name is Dustin and he is a very fun and energetic child. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him, mostly from my own fault of working and then being a recluse. I used to come home from work and want to go nowhere, or do anything. That's another story though.

I want to talk about saying grace before meals. In our secular and money driven world we often forget to thank God for the little things. We are in such a hurry to get a meal down so we can go on and do other things, that many times we don't even turn off the television or even sit down. Often even getting our meal while behind the steering wheel of the car, and consuming it while driving to do something else. We've become a society where people are measured by their monetary worth and how much they have. If you have a big house, lots of cars, and many bathrooms you're considered 'well off.'

I used to live in a much slower place. Where dinner is still often served at the table, and people stop what they are doing, especially on a Sunday afternoon, to spend time with family talking and eating. Dinner time prayer was a big part of that life. Often we become very ritualistic or formulaic, saying the same prayer before dinner every night. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing! As long as the prayer hasn't lost it's meaning. My grandfather, Delmon, used to say (forgive me if my wording is off, it's been many years since he passed), Lord we want to thank for the food before us, bless and sanctify the hands that prepared it for the nourishment of our bodies, in Jesus Name, Amen.

It's a beautiful prayer. I still remember him saying it every single night before dinner. My family also tries to pray before dinner, and we use a standard dinner time prayer. Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Both are beautiful prayers, and both have their place. Just remember to say them with reverence, attention and devotion. Never allow it to become just simple rote, where you say it without really thinking about what you are saying, and only to get it out of way so you can eat.

I also encourage people to begin saying a prayer AFTER the meal. It's much easier to remember to thank God for his bounty when our stomach is growling, and we want to fill it. How much more difficult is it to remember to say thank you, after we are satiated, and ready for a nap.

Back to Dustin. We were about to begin eating dinner one night and Dustin wanted to say grace for us. Everyone gathered around the table and we bowed our heads, and waited patiently for him to pray for a blessing over the food. His words were simple, but full of passion. He said everything that needed to be said, and from the innocence of his heart, we knew he meant it. "Yay God! Let's eat!"

In Christ,