November 12, 2016 • Life for Leaders
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Our children are adults, living on their own, so usually it’s just my husband and me at the dinner table each night. We used to say grace. We taught our children to say it, too. We taught them the “God is great, God is good,” version when they were tiny and we taught them to fold their little hands together beneath their chins.
As our children grew older, we’d all hold hands together, bow our heads and one of us would lead the prayer before the first bite of food passed our lips. But lately, my husband and I have stopped saying grace altogether.
The honest truth is that we’d begun to simply go through the motions. Saying grace was a pit stop — a gateway between us and our food. We glossed over it, rarely paying attention to the God we claimed to be invoking as we closed our eyes, bowed our heads, and tossed a few words out into the air.
Then, one evening, as we sat down for dinner together, my husband turned to me and confessed, “I’ve switched up from saying grace, to having a moment of silence before I eat.”
“Really?” I responded. “Me too.” And it was true. At breakfast and lunch — meals I rarely shared with my husband, I’d been foregoing grace for a moment of silence.
Surely, this is all just a matter of semantics, right? I mean, isn’t a moment of silence the same as saying grace? I guess it is. Except that, switching up the terminology also shifted my focus. Rather than rushing through a few habitual words before digging in to my meals, a moment of silence gave me the opportunity to be fully present. Instead of feeling imaginary pressure to perform, I sat before my food and realized just how truly grateful I am — for the food before me, the chair beneath me, the table and the walls and the lights and the floor under my feet.
Somehow, simply experiencing the moment in silence — without words shaped into a prayer called, grace — I have become more grateful for God’s provision. With my eyes closed, and breathing in the aroma of fresh vegetables, warm bread, protein, herbs, and spices, makes me much more aware of the interconnectedness I share with people I may never meet. Gratitude consumes me and I am filled with wonder, thanksgiving, hopefulness, and joy. In silence, I am convinced, more than ever, that — forever and always — God is great, and so very good.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What was the very first grace you were taught to say? Who taught you? How has your experience of grace evolved over the years?
LORD, thank you for farmers and fishermen, truck drivers and carpenters. Thank you for connecting us all to one another. Thank you for moments of silence, and for grace. Amen.