Vol.I No.II Pg.8
February 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner


Preachers are invited into many homes where good food is common (we thank the Lord) but where thanking the Lord is evidently a rare experience. It would be amusing, were it not so serious, to see what an awkward situation this makes.

We are seated, and Johnny reaches for the closest dish. Dad picks up a fork, and says, "Well preach--" but he gets a kick on the shin that stops the chatter. Sis slaps Johnny's hand back; Mom clears her throat, and eyes Dad. There is an embarrassing silence and then Dad stammers, "Uh, preacher, will you, uhh, say, uhh, grace?"

Sometimes I have half a notion to say, "Grace" -- and be done with it; but I haven't had the nerve, or the heart, to do it yet.

Or maybe the hostess says, "Bro. Turner, will you bless the food?" Now the flesh is willing, but the means and power escape me. Blessings come from God, and from the looks of the table, God has done His job well. It is certainly beyond my power to do better. And if the food is "hallowed, sanctified, made holy" there might be some question about our being worthy to partake of it. What's wrong with a good old-fashioned, all-American "Thank You"? God has "blessed" us, His "grace" is manifested, and it seems most natural for us to "Thank God" for our food.

If we did it more often- and could tear ourselves away from clergy -- laity distinctions that grant a priestly right to "bless" anything -- perhaps more people would get on speaking -- terms with God. Instead of mumbling a formalized ritual, we might express our genuine appreciation to our Heavenly Father for His goodness.

And Johnny might hear something at the beginning of each meal besides, "Go easy on the butter kid, it's 80 cents a pound."

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I'm reminded of a prayer I heard in eastern Kentucky once-- "Lord, do shuck and silk us of our sins--". Now that may not mean much in a ranching country, but it was plain talk in my home state. Jerk off those obvious sins, and then pick and brush away each hidden sin. I understood it, and I'm persuaded God understood it too.