Date: Wednesday, Mar 22
Contributor: Lyn Lawyer
Saying Grace before Meals
Psalm 145:16-17. “The eyes of all wait upon you O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.”
One of the themes running through today’s scriptures is about food and God’s desire to see us all fed, spiritually and physically. Thus, I immediately thought about saying grace.
As a child we always said the same grace before dinner, which most Episcopalians can say in their sleep. “Bless this food to our use and us to thy service and give us grateful hearts for all thy many blessings. Make us ever mindful of the needs of others, Amen”. My father always made us count to ten before we could start eating, I suppose to make us reflect on what we had just prayed.
Once when my children needed breakfast before heading out to school we recited the collect for grace.
“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day. Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (BCP p.100)
After he had heard it enough times our youngest, who I am guessing was about four at the time, interpreted this grace as “Thank you for this food and help us to be good” this has become our restaurant grace ever since.
I have a niece who as a child would not eat a cookie without saying a quick thank you to God for the treat. This intrigued me at the time and reminded me that we need to be grateful for all the little things in life all the time.
Back in the days of the Rev. Henry Hoover, whenever the parish had a meal together he would always use Psalm 145: 16-17 as a call and response grace. He would call out verse 16 and we were expected to respond with verse 17. The memory of that is what spurred me to think about what are we saying to ourselves and to God when we say grace before a meal.
Lately I have been adding at least three specific “thank-yous” to dinner grace as a reminder that we have much more to be grateful for than to fuss about.
May Blessings, Peace, Joy, Love and Grace, all gifts from God, pour down on all of us as we prepare for Easter.