Sunday, February 8, 2009

Please bless this food

Sometimes weird thoughts pop into my head. The other day, as we were saying a blessing on our dinner, the thought occurred to me - what exactly are we asking God to do when we say "please bless this food?"

I can understand giving thanks for providing the food. I can understand blessing a person - that they may be filled with the spirit. I can understand blessing a home or a temple - that the spirit may reside therein. But, what are we expecting from blessed food? Are we asking that the spirit reside in the food that we are about to consume? Isn't that a bit creepy - we're going to eat the spirit? Are we asking God to change the chemical and/or biological makeup of the food so that it is more nourishing than unblessed food? Why can't we just give thanks for the food? Why do we have to ask that it be blessed?

It's just one of these things we repeat by rote without ever really thinking about what we are saying - at least I've never really thought about it before.

Growing up outside of the LDS church, we didn't bless the food - we said grace. I remember once, as a small boy, we were at a family reunion in Pennsylvania. They asked my uncle - a methodist minister - to say grace. We all bowed our heads. He then said "Grace" - "OK, let's eat." Not that he was an irreverent man - I just think he felt that there was a time and a place - and a family reunion was neither the time nor the place for a long drawn out dissertation in the form of a prayer - I can think of some Mormon's I've known who could take some advice in that regard.

I remember a family I met while serving on my mission who invited us over one Sunday for dinner. When it came time to say the blessing on the food - they got dessert out of the refrigerator and set it on the table during the blessing - then they put it back in the refrigerator until we finished dinner. They also took the lids off of the salad dressing bottles during the prayer. So, I guess blessings are not able to permeate refrigerator doors or plastic lids to reach the food.

Personally, wouldn't it be much more efficient f we would just bless the grocery store? Then we could say a quick prayer of thanks before we eat it - think of all of the time we could save.


kevin said...

I think the whole taking food out of the fridge, removing caps and lids, etc. for the blessing is a matter of superstition. I'm wondering where you served your mission, because the practice was much the same where I served.

I also never "bless" the food. I thank God for the food; I bless my family and loved ones.

Although maybe, just maybe, if we have enough faith, we can bless those brownies at the fireside "to nourish and strengthen our bodies, and do us the good that we need." Have you ever heard that?

Alan said...

Having in the past exerted much energy railing on other Christian denominations for their "rote" prayers, the Mormons sure seem to have fallen into the same trap. The patterns may not be in an official church publication, but most active US Mormons know them so instinctively that they feel guilty about any departures from The Unwritten Order Of Things (thank you Boyd Packer)(and yes, I DID deliberately omit his middle initial).

playasinmar said...

Religion vs Time Saved?

I don't think temporal efficiency and religious ceremony are even remotely congruent.

Mel said...

I'm with you on the blessings. Blessing potato chips or ice cream that "it will give strength to our bodies" is a bit much to ask. Kind of like the prayers before a BYU football game, asking the spirit to be with us. :-)

I think that a prayer can be good if it helps us feel grateful for the food, and take the time to appreciate it. Having a healthy appreciation for the food we eat will probably do more to keep us healthy than prayers over the brownies.

Beck said...

"Sometimes weird thoughts pop into my head..."

Really? You? Nahhh!!! :)

Seriously, it all comes down to gratitude...

Max Power said...

When I used to attend the single's FHE, I once was asked to say the prayer to close the meeting and also asked to offer a blessing on the refreshments. I said, "We're thankful for the refreshments. Please bless them to be yummy." I don't think I was ever asked to pray at FHE again...

suzannpappan said...

I have been reading a lot about mindful eating...thinking of all who brought that food to you from the farmers to the truckers to the store emplyess , the list can go on an on.
I ask The Lord to bless of of them and also aske that He remove and protect me fro the toxins that are in everything.
Those Doggone Tupperware lids are sealed ya know. No leaks in or out. LOL.
I have seen that done too.

suzannpappan said...

I also speak in typoneese fluently.
I wonder if sometimes I pray in Typoneese?