Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr CC
Blessed are You our God, King of the Universe,
who brings forth bread from the earth. When my children were growing up, we began every family meal--which included breakfast and dinner every day--with a prayer. We are Jewish and so it was the prayer over bread, when we were having bread, or the catch-all prayer for everything when we weren't.
Now that my youngest has left for college and I eat out at friends' or restaurants more regularly, the prayers have declined. The absence has made me miss them. Recently, at a restaurant with a group of friends, I felt an urge to say a prayer before we began. Why the urge? What is the significance of the prayer?
First, these prayers make every meal begin with words of thanksgiving. That is intensely important to me. That every day I go around sated because of this food is an enormous blessing. Just read history and you begin to see that most time in people's lives has been devoted to the struggle to get enough to eat. Feeling sated was a rarity for most people in human history.
Just reflect on the huge variety of things people do eat--haggis; various animals including cats, dogs, rats, and guinea pigs; sea urchins; cocoa; mushrooms; scallops, mussels, and oysters; grasshoppers and ants--and you realize that almost anything that has nutritional value has been eaten. It must be that hunger drove people to try to eat anything and everything.