When we ‘say grace’ before a meal, what does it mean to us?
Is it just a habit, a liturgy for meals?
A Christian observance?
Are we asking God for His blessing upon the meal and the diners,
or perhaps just giving thanks for the food?
Have we realised that ‘grace’ is intended to invoke God’s presence,
to invite Him to share the meal with us;
that it is intended to be a doorway to an act of worship as we eat together?
The ‘grace’ we speak should be from our hearts, not our habits;
it should be our prayer to God, and
not merely performed as ‘the done thing’.
Our ‘grace’, offered to Him in this way,
might include a request for His presence and blessing,
thanksgiving and acknowledgement of His provision,
and adoration or worship of Him.
First, let us be grateful that God has simply provided food for us,
not forgetting that it is God who is our Provider in all things, and
not taking credit for providing by our own efforts
(however we may be tempted to think that way)
what is always God’s gift.
God created food – and tastebuds!
God created water, and wine, and cool drinks;
He made up all the tastes and textures and flavours that make nice food,
so that we enjoy many different kinds of food.
Whatever our favourite foods might be, God was there before us,
creating and making, designing and preparing – so that,
when we came to discover it,
He could have the joy of knowing that He had given you another gift.
I sincerely believe, for example, that God planned the combination
of cheese and tomato from the beginning of creation.
This seems a good place to mention that “the grace”
should also be a prayer against the temptation to gluttony!
If we recognise and appreciate His artistry,
beyond simply being grateful that we have food,
even as we enjoy a meal together, this is worship that pleases Him!
I must add, though, that there are always those who do not have
any choice in what they are able to find to eat to sustain life,
who cannot enjoy variety, and
who do not know when they will eat again.
We cannot worship God in enjoying the foods He has provided,
unless we have first shared out of what we have for those of us
(and yes, they are also part of our Body)
who do not have enough, or anything at all.
If we have already done all this, though, then let’s tuck in –
right after we’ve “said grace”!