Could This Be A Tradition? part 1: Blessing Of Food

Posted on May 29, 2008


Early in the morning, several years ago I was listening to a local DJ on the radio. This DJ is probably the most famous morning show host in our area. Constantly making comedic observations and creating chaos on our streets. On this particular morning, his comedic observation proved to be very thought provoking to me. He said that “if one insists on constantly blessing his or her food, why not take advantage of the opportunity while waiting in line at the check out counter?” (Jack Murphy, paraphrased). This makes a lot of sense to me. It is all in the basket you are going to eat it eventually, why not bless it all at once?

One thing that gets on my nerves to the largest degree is people who are so dogmatic about constantly saying the “blessing” before a meal. As a side note: one thing I have noticed between my friends, family and others is this. While they can be so very dogmatic about blessing each and every meal, they think nothing of running to the cabinet around 2pm to grab a little debbie oatmeal cookie! Seems a little hypocritical to me.

Is it possible that our ideas about blessing food could simply be a tradition?

The author of Genesis (Moses) notes that after God created everything he clearly called it “good.” So if everything that is available to us to eat is “good” why should we have to bless it?

Just as an observer, it almost gets under my skin when I see parents of young children forcing them to pray over their food. There is almost ALWAYS a certain ritual involved: closed eyes, hands folded, etc.. To me this is getting children off on the wrong foot. There is not one uniformed way to pray and this is an idea that needs to be taught to children at the youngest of ages.

God does want us to come to him with a thankful heart. We should be thankful for all that He has given to us. I do believe that God is way more concerned with our inward hearts than with our outward example of thankfulness. I have rarely seen a Christian give thanks when they purchase a new car, new mp3 player or receive a favorite dvd as a gift. So why the double standard? Why give thanks only at meals (not snacks)?

Part of me believes that this outward example of thanks is a way for Christian people to show the outside world “look at us, we are Christians who are praying together in public over our food” or “my family is so much more spiritual than your family because we believe in praying over our food before we eat.”

Another part of me believes that all of this is simply a tradition that is handed down from parent to child to child.

The final part of me is just a bit bitter perhaps. So many times I have received nasty looks from people in my life because I eat before the prayer is given. I can’t help it you know. I am a type one diabetic who is very dependent on food to balance my blood sugar. There are times when my blood sugar goes so low I have to start dinner early. Yet, judgmental Christians with this dogmatic attitude just cannot comprehend it. Thats alright though, I saw you take that orange push up out of the freezer and lick it without saying a blessing for it!