Monday, December 21, 2009

Bless the food...

I like to post things that I have been thinking about and things that will make others think. The other night one of our son's forgot to "bless the food" when he said prayer over the food at dinner time. I told him not to worry about it because he said "We thank thee for the food." My explanation to him was that I feel it is more important to give thanks for the food than it is to bless it. My reasoning is as follows...

For thousands of years, the primary preoccupation for an individual was "how am I going to eat my next meal?" or "how am I going to survive the winter?" Whenever people ate, they were very grateful to have that food in front of them. When a humble, God-fearing person was getting ready to eat, they felt and expressed gratitude for being able to do so.

Now days, most of us don't really worry about IF we are going to eat. If we worry at all, it is about the caloric intake, what would be the quickest to cook or what would taste the best. This luxury has made us take for granted the number two acute requirement for prolonging life (next to oxygen of course)...FOOD!

Is it really that important to "bless the food?" I submit that it is not. Yet, it is vitally important to give thanks for the food. I'm not saying that we shouldn't bless it, although I do wonder if it is just a modern (last one to two hundred years) twist on "saying grace over the food." Hopefully someone with more knowledge in this area can point me in the right direction. I do think it is silly to go back and say another prayer, just to bless the food though. if you did say things for it. At the same time, I don't think it is silly to go back and say thanks for the food if that essential statement is forgotten.

Anecdotally, I think it is also good to have a habit of meal time prayer to help us turn our thoughts to God and have him ever more present in our lives than He would be if we just said prayer in the evening before going to bed.

3 comments:

Loyd said...

Blessing the food is interesting, because I don't think that we really believe that the chemical components of the food are going to change because of the prayer--we are not expecting for either a bad taste (too much salt maybe) or unhealthy food (some salmonella maybe) to suddenly change by our evoking a prayer. Neither do I think that we believe that our prayers extend back into time and retroactively change the past so that the meal is cooked or prepared differently.

Rather it seems that blessing our food is in fact a showing of appreciation and dependence on God. To use the Mormon prayer-line "bless this food that it might nourish and strengthen our bodies" is not a request to change the chemical properties of our meals, but rather a way to show our dependence on God for the very food we have and our dependence on God for the means that our bodies might be strengthened and nourished.

However, I am much more interested in tracing back the origin of Mormons using "strengthen and nourish" when they bless food. Is this phrase unique to Mormons? Or do other Christians use it as well? If the former, who was the first to use it, and did they have any clue that it would be nearly on par with the Lord's Prayer (and much more used) in Mormon culture?

Carson Calderwood said...

True, I actually was going to say that we don't consider a "blessing on the food" to be a priesthood ordinance either.

Marisa said...

It seems that some LDS do actually think that blessing the food will rid it of anything poisonous, and that if you don't bless the food you are putting your family at risk. Just sayin.