I still like praying before a meal

comments 5
the godless side

Eating a quiet, incredibly delicious meal all by myself at a local restaurant and pondering about the beautiful community of people required to produce it. I would like to say thank you. Thank you to the server who brought it to me. To the chef who displayed the food so artistically, using bits of finely chopped up carrot and parsley to confetti the outside of my plate. To the cooks who grilled the chicken, chopped the vegetables, boiled the noodles, created the sauce. To the dairy farmer who milked the cow to produce the cream for the sauce. To the chicken farmer who tended the chickens as they grew, keeping them healthy and strong before being eaten. To the field workers all over the globe to pick the spices used for seasonings. To the farmers who planted and harvested these fresh vegetables. To the owner of the restaurant who first had the vision to make this all possible. And so, so many more. The fruits of your labors are making me very happy. Amen.

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

5 Comments

  1. Ruthie Higbee says

    I love it! We tell each other what we’re grateful for before dinner, it’s one of the best parts of my day.

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  2. Yes. Prayers before meals was mandatory in our home, both growing up and after my marriage. But something about it always nagged me, seemed a little off. Dad worked and made money to buy the food. Mom planned and prepared the food. Either they or someone else planted and harvested the food. We helped prepare the food. There were too many people in the world who had NO food. Why were we thanking God for the things we worked for, when he wasn’t he providing this providence for everyone? Over the past year I balked and stopped participating in grace before meals. There was no god, I was angry, so why follow through with the uncomfortable ruse? It was hard for my husband, even though our meal prayer is fairly innocuous. But lately I’ve been joining in, at least on the end part: “Help us all to show our love by being kind and good each day.” Being thankful doesn’t have to be directed towards a deity to show a wonderful state of grateful and graceful heart. I am so much better opening myself back up to being thankful.

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  3. Depending on the individual and/or religion, some prayers are more like, “We’re thankful that we’re so superior and righteous to deserve all these great blessings,” and others are more like, “We’re so unworthy of all these blessings, we will pass them on through service to others.” As an active believer, I thank you for your reminder that many of my prayers may be vain and self-serving.

    Several months ago, we were discussing service to others in Sunday school. A woman shared some background on the “birthright,” which was traditionally given to the first son. Originally, I thought the first son received extra just because the culture considered the first son entitled or “better” in some way. The woman explained that, if there were an unmarried sister, widow, or family member in need, the first son was expected to care for that person, which is why he received the “birthright.” He is receiving it on behalf of another, and is expected to pass on the resources when the need arises.

    She likened it to ourselves, who live in a first world country. As citizens in a developed country, we receive such an abundance, we are essentially given other people’s blessings–but they’re not *our* blessings. We’re merely stewards over those blessings. It’s our responsibility to pass those blessings on to the people they truly belong to by giving to and serving those in undeveloped countries and others with less than we have.

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