“Over the lips and past the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!”
No, not that kind of grace. And not the fancy words our grandparents, parents (or ourselves) pull out at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter dinners because it’s as traditional as the turkey, goose, and ham.
I’m talking about a few, simple words spoken over the food we ingest. To say a blessing. (To bless simply means “to speak well of something,” it’s not an exclusively religious word.)
If you read this blog regularly, you’ve probably surmised that I tend to buck tradition. Religious or secular. Why? Because if you don’t know WHY you’re doing something, it’s not doing you any good. Explain the purpose of a tradition and I’ll probably jump right in. No reason for that tradition? You might as well stop doing it.
Why would I advocate the old-fashioned tradition of saying grace before meals then? Because it’s good for your body and good for your soul, and these days, when our food seems to be as dangerous (or more dangerous) than it was back in Bible times, doing things that are good for us is important!
- A new study revealed colonies of nasty, icky bacteria dwelling in the bottoms of those eco-friendly reusable grocery bags just waiting to get all over your food. (I’m wondering if the study was paid for by the plastic grocery bag manufacturers?)
- In the last few years thousands of Americans have become ill from contaminated peanut butter, lettuce and spinach, and eggs. (Which makes me wonder if anyone has ever gotten sick from contaminated Double Stuf Oreo cookies? Doubt it.)
- We really have no idea what’s in our food. Pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives. Not to mention the ugly rumors about things like fast food chili made from the burger patties that fell on the floor and expired deli sandwiches rewrapped and redated – after someone picks off the mold. Gross.
- The farther away we get from our food sources (not just distance, but processing) the more likely we are to be eating things that aren’t really good for our bodies.
What can we do? Be educated and read labels, for starters. Health food stores, local farmers’ markets, and organic foods are another possibility. However, not everyone has access to those benefits. And what about those times when you go out to eat, or get invited to great-grandma Sue’s house for dinner? There is still something you can do: say grace, or speak a blessing, over your meal.
Why? Because everything responds to words. God spoke the world into existence; Jesus spoke to the fig tree and it withered, He spoke to the wind and it stopped, He blessed the bread and fish and it multiplied to feed at least 5,000 people – with leftovers. The Hebrews marched around the walled city of Jericho for seven days, shouted once, and the walls fell down.
The blessings of God listed in Deuteronomy 28 say He will bless our bread and water and take all sickness away from our midst. The apostles said no food would be considered unclean if it was received with gratitude.
Saying “grace” or blessing your meal doesn’t have to be a big, showy production, just a word of thanks to your Creator that what you are about to eat is nourishing and healthy for your body, and brings no sickness with it.