Friday, August 2, 2019

EmmDev 2019-08-02 [A Life of Thanksgiving] At Mealtimes

At Mealtimes

Many of us call it "saying grace" - the gospel writers call it "giving thanks". All four gospels faithfully record that Jesus "gave thanks" when He fed the 5000 and the 4000 and at the Last Supper. In addition, Luke tells us that Jesus "gave thanks" when he ate with the two Emmaus road walkers.

The phrase "saying grace" is interesting - it's the one I use more often to describe what we do before meals... In a sense we are "pronouncing grace" - we are declaring that every meal is a gift of grace. "Saying Grace" also had to do with praying a blessing on the food and this comes from the fact that in New Testament times meat was sacrificed to idols and then sold in temple butcheries and so Christians felt the need to "claim the food back". But on careful reflection I think I'll be trying to shift the emphasis to "giving thanks".

We had a friend who playfully suggested that instead of "giving thanks", "saying grace" or "blessing the food" at every meal, he would just pray over the boot full of groceries when they came back from their monthly shopping. This would just be more efficient!

But of course this is missing the point...

It's about "giving thanks" and realising that even our day to day basics are a gift and a blessing from God. "Giving Thanks" before a meal is an opportunity to quieten our souls, to recognise God's goodness, and to thank God, not only for food, but those around the table with us and for life itself.

We can't live without food and we can't live without God.
Giving thanks at mealtimes helps us remember this.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.      (Luke24:30)