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Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Come Lord Jesus", "Johnny Appleseed" and the tradition of table grace

"Come our Lord and be our guest and let this food to us be blessed.  Amen"

and then there was...

"Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen"

and when we went to the German neighbours it was...

"Komm Herr Jesus Sie unser Gast Segne was Du uns bescheret hast. Amen!

There was this tradition around the dinner table at home...
Okay.. it wasn't just around the dinner table, it was during breakfast and supper as well.  Growing up in our family there were certain expectations.  Now I call them traditions, but growing up, they were expectations.  There were things I did just because I had to do them.  It was expected of me and that was that.  There were no questions.  I just obeyed.  It didn't have to make sense to me.  Table grace was one of those traditions/expectations. 

 I could call it prayer, but now I am not sure it was prayer.  Prayer is the conversation I have with my Father.  What I did before meals at my house was a repeated emotionless ritual.  

I went on the internet to see if google would give me some insight into this issue.  I came up with a lot of answers.... except the one I was looking for.

Here is my question: 

Is praying before mealtime purposed to be done with the heartfelt intent to thank my Creator for providing me with daily sustenance?  And if that is the case what am I supposed to do with the recited ritual that feels miles away from that heartfelt connection?  

I am stuck in a mire on this one.  My mom and my family still feel it is necessary to partake in the thrice daily tradition.  And I am going to be honest... when I am with them, I go along with it, no questions asked.  Honestly, I am not ready to rock the boat on that issue yet.  I have rocked the boat in my family so much so that the next push could tip it.  

(click on the link above to hear Disney's rendition of the song) 

It has been a 23 year musical tradition that we sing Johnny Appleseed when we have a family gathering.  It started when my nephew Benjamin was just a toddler. He would pipe up at meal times... 
" Sing Lord is good to me"

How does one turn down an adorable two year old when he puts in that request.  He heard it, liked it and kept requesting it.. so we kept on singing.  Now it is tradition. 

  I still like singing it with my family.  It is fun and lively and starting the meal with music probably aids in better digestion. (that is my guess!)  But is it prayer... or just table entertainment?  

I am not suggesting that I kibosh the family supper singalong just because my family and I see it from different perspectives.  I don't think that is necessary.

News Flash:  I eat without praying first...
 most of the time.

I do want folks to know that even though I don't practice the repetitive tradition of table grace, I am very thankful to my Creator for my daily bread.  I am thankful for my husband when he cooks (which is most of the time) and I let him know it with heartfelt gratitude.  Sometimes I will whisper a thank you from my heart after I have participated in the oral tradition with my family and table praying friends.  I guess I just want to be real about my gratitude not repetitive.  

1 comment:

Ruby Neumann said...

This is a comment I found on the God Journey Forum that I wanted to share in addition to my thoughts on this blog post. Thank you Cory for your thoughts.

The whole praying at every meal thing

« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 12:55:35 AM »
For many years I have eaten my food without saying a prayer first. (I haven't died from unblessed food yet) It struck me long ago that thankfulness was a state of mind. And it certainly should be verbalized often. I found it odd that Christians were always praying for the food as if it had to be done. If they had been stopping to offer thanks for everything else in their lives routinely then it would not have seemed so strange. Why just at meal time? Nothing wrong with doing it then. Until of course it becomes an obligation and loses its value. When we have friends over it still often creates some ackwardness for me because so many people go through that little ritual.

Anyone know where that tradition started? Perhaps in understanding the foundations of it we will have some appreciation for it. At the same time if the reasons behind the tradition are no longer valid then hopefully we can cease the obligitory practice that current tradition places on it.

I kind of feel the same about the prayers that are offered up at most Christian events and programs. It is like the unspoken rule that whenever believers gather someone must say a prayer before the event begins. I think that contributes to the way people view their spiritual life. When Jesus is invited into it at gatherings and events then they go into spiritual mode. When he isn't then they are in another mode. I think that is part of my disgust with all of this. If Jesus isn't always invited into our lives then what in the world kind of game are we fooling ourselves with?

I certainly don't talk with Jesus often enough, but I know that ritualistic prayers for me would completely kill the relationship.

In closing, "Lord, bless this little forum post." .... kidding!

« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 07:04:28 AM by Cory.Isakson »