I grew up in a household where before dinner we said grace. Each of us, my mother, father, brother and me had to say a short prayer or bible verse or something that at least sounded holy before we could eat.
Mom: “Lord, thank you for the food we are about to receive for the nourishment of our bodies, Amen.”
Dad: “Bless this food, oh Lord. Amen.”
Me or my brother: “Thank you for this meal, Lord.”
“Jesus wept.” (My brother and I would try to be the first to say this because it’s the shortest bible verse there is.)
On holidays, when my grandmother did the big prayer for everybody which was always a little longer than our usual, my father would say this afterwards: “Good bread, good meat, good God, let’s eat.” Everyone would laugh.
It seems like such a quaint memory.
There we were that in-tact black family with two working parents, homeowners, in fact, who sent all three children to college. (My older sister was much older and lived on her own most of the years I was growing up.)
Yes, we said grace and were regular churchgoers, except for my dad. He would attend on holidays, though. It was only at his funeral that I learned that he built the pulpit, lectern and communion rail of our church. He was a master carpenter. Maybe he didn’t go to church on Sundays because, in a way, he was always there. Even when no one else was.
Grace. Saying grace. I miss this in my life now.
Grace seems in short supply these days. I wonder how well we can recognize it when it shows up. How will you know it, if you’ve never seen it?
Maybe it’s time to begin saying grace again. To offer grace. To demonstrate grace. To acknowledge grace.
I’m sure it’s true: Jesus wept.