I saw this message on a plaque recently; Grace isn’t a little prayer you say before a meal. It’s a way to live. Do you give thanks or say Grace before “breaking bread”? Where does this custom come from? This painting Saying Grace from Norman Rockwell speaks to the way that a lot of people feel about this practice.

Isn’t it fascinating that the most humble and everyday food, bread, is used to represent Jesus/God in the Bible? The miracle of the loaves and fishes precedes this quote from the John: Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:32-35, New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus later ritualized the use of bread to achieve Communion with the Spirit at the Last Supper;
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke:22-19 English Standard Version)

Note that Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread.

Do this in remembrance of me…what would it look like for your daily spiritual practice if you literally do this every time you eat; pause, give thanks and remember the spiritual path? In this light the line from the Lord’s Prayer takes on a more spiritual meaning; Give us this day our daily bread, (Matthew: 6-11)

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Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 10, 2015 at 4:46pm

having been raised Catholic and a student in elementary and high schools I have spent a lot time discussing these scriptures with God through the Holy Spirit.  This is were I ended up for what it's worth. 

The pronoun "This" refers to the community there gathered at the last supper and not the bread.  Jesus is telling them to share what they have with each other in remembrance of Him.  This understanding of this scripture is completely consistent with all the other scriptures that call us to love one another.

As for saying grace before meals that's another story for another time.

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 14, 2015 at 11:21pm

So after having said grace too many times before meals with my wife and three children while they complained, argued or sat indifferently, I finally suggested to God that there was no point to it and I thought it would be a lot less disrespectful to Him to just skip it.  After which I quickly received the following-"Fine, no problem with me, but do you really want you and your family to eat who knows what is in that food without my blessing it first?"   So while I may sometimes forget to thank Him for my daily bread at meal time, I never let a day go by without asking Him to bless the food I and those who share my table eat.  When it comes to thanking Him I find I normally thank Him for those he's given me to break bread with, I guess in my mind I see the people as His gifts to me although I know that all good gifts come from the Father of Lights.  I'm now trying to remember to thank Him and ask for His blessing whenever I eat in the hope that it will bring awareness and presence to a part of my life that too often is habitual and not sacred.  Strangely I have been much more successful in achieving this in other areas of my life which I would have thought less likely.  God's ways are not our ways.

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