Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also, those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God.
Romans 14:6 NRSV
“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace be- fore I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” G. K. Chesterton
Breath Prayer Inhale – Aa-a-a- , Exhale – men!
Saying grace is a spiritual practice defined as returning thanks to God, who has given humanity dominion over all the earth, in part for the cultivation of crops and the procurement of food. Many faith traditions share this practice. In Lutheran tradition grace is spoken both before and after the meal. Before the meal the wording is, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. May these gifts to us be blessed,” while the after meal grace, from Psalm 136:1, affirms our gratitude: “O give thanks unto the LORD, for God is good: For God’s mercy endures forever.”
In the coming week people across our land will bow their heads and give thanks, either spoken aloud or in the unspoken language of the heart. This year Thanksgiving will be different for many. We may need to pause a little longer to remember with gratitude what we do have to be thankful for. We are invited to pause to remember without judgement those who are not feeling thankful this year, experiencing loneliness or loss. Let us remember that Jesus in his last supper, paused to give thanks to God.
In saying grace, we invite God’s Presence to be at home with us, to be our guest in all circumstances. How much stronger that invitation becomes when we practice the words of grace with new meaning and different circumstances of community, affirming our gratitude.
Inviting God to be our guest, whether this takes place at the table or on our mats, empowers us to face any event or life experience. Saying grace acknowledges God as Creator and Provider of all that is good.
Focus Pose: Anjali Mudra, Prayer Pose, is literally translated “honor” or “celebrate.” How apt a description for a hand position commonly used to celebrate the Lord’s goodness to us as we say grace! Each day this week invite prayer pose into your practice in a new way. You might consider using prayer hands as you transition from mountain pose to standing forward fold. Or perhaps you might use prayer hands in bridge pose, affirming the lifting of your heart with the placement of your hands. Wherever you insert prayer hands into your practice, observe the space that it creates in the underlying pose. Maybe, there will be enough space for an extra Amen!