When I was a kid, we sometimes gathered around the table for breakfast or dinner, depending on whether Mom was there to fix it. If not, Dad and I would fix out own, but still usually sit down and eat together before going back to our farm or sawmill work. At supper, though, we nearly always gathered around the table. Saying grace, however, was usually reserved for Sundays or holidays, when we were especially thankful for not just the food, but also for the family members who often joined us, as well.
My wife grew up in a home where saying grace at the table was looked upon in the same light as the Pharisee praying on the street corner. Of course, my father-in-law also never got baptized because he felt he wasn’t “worthy.” I suspect that he believed that no-one else was worthy enough, either, but I don’t know that. He believed that way, despite reading his Bible daily. I won’t say anything to my wife about it, but I have to wonder about the salvation of someone who waits until he’s worthy enough to obey the Lord’s command to be baptized. (NO, I DON’T believe it’s a requirement for salvation, but why would anyone deliberately disobey such an obvious command?)
The last couple times that we had a holiday meal at our house, looking at our tiny kitchen and our strung-out seating arrangements, my wife just called out “Okay—form a line,” meaning for everyone to file through the kitchen buffet-style. Grace was apparently forgotten.
The last couple holidays, my wife and I went to “the kids’.” I was wondering if my stepson would ask the blessing, but with THEIR tiny kitchen and limited seating, it was a repeat of the last two family meals at our own home. I was disappointed. It’s not that I mean that you can’t be thankful without saying grace; it’s just that any reminder to be thankful to God is a good thing, especially when there are children present (and there were a few, none of whom are saved). Had I been in my own house, I would have spoken up this time, but I wouldn’t do that in someone else’s home.
When we got home, I mentioned to my wife that I would have like to have seen grace said, especially considering all the kids there. Apparently taking it as an insult to her son, she angrily reminded me that her father didn’t believe in such things, and she didn’t think it was necessary. I replied that while it wasn’t necessary, it would still have been nice. She told me that we weren’t Jesus, so we couldn’t bless the food anyway. I could have reminded her that we DON’T bless the food, but rather, ask the Lord to do so. However, I learned long ago not to push ANY issue with her, unless it’s a matter of life and death. It was just one more example of how, ultimately, tradition usually wins over common sense.
My wife finds it straining to cook for a crowd anymore, so there may not be any more holiday meals in our home. We would have eaten Chinese this year had we not gotten the invite to the kids’ house. Naturally, saying grace in a restaurant is merely flaunting your religion in my wife’s eyes (remember who raised her). I guess that means thankless holidays from now on, and while some folks would consider it just a case of me hanging onto my own tradition, I like to think that there’s a little more to it than that. In fact, I know there is. © 2014