“Isn’t anyone going to say grace????”
- Grandmothers everywhere
If you are fortunate enough to have anyone over the age of 80 still enjoying Thanksgiving with you, chances are that before you are allowed to dig into your turkey someone is going to have to say grace. Rather than fumble through some akward silence followed by an impromptu grace with lots of “umm”s in it, why not get the jump on Grandma and offer to recite grace yourself.
In most cases, grace or similar prayer serves two functions: to offer thanks for the meal and/or to dedicate its purpose. There are some very esoteric versions of this from specific traditions, and if it is your habit to say “Will” before every meal, or recite Ram Yam Kham, Om Ah Hum, Ha Ho Hrih with the associated mudras, I think that is GREAT. It may however be a little off putting in mixed company, which sort of defeats the purpose.
A good table grace should be a statement acceptable to the beliefs of most people at the table, but not necessarily custom made for all. If your whole family is Lutheran and you are the lone Pagan it would be nice if they found a Blessing that thanks God or the Lord, but not necessarily Jesus by name. If not, than just chalk that up to being in the minority. Rabidly demanding a separate grace that is Buddhist or Pagan, or anything else just defeats the point. The sentiment of most table prayers is easily converted from one religion to another.
The other point worth noting about a Table Grace is that unless you are a family of Baptist preachers, it should be short. Long enough to not feel rushed or like you just just giving a nod to God, but brief enough that people are not huffing under their breath while their food gets cold.
Here are a few of my favorites. Again, I am sure you can see how they can easily be converted to the specific beliefs of just about any religion:
For food in a world where many walk hungry.
For faith in a world where many walk in fear.
For Friends in a world where many walk alone.
We give thanks.
Lord bless us to our bread
and give bread to those who are hungry
and hunger for justice to those who are fed
Bless this food to our use
and us to thy faithful service.
And make us ever needful of the minds of others.
Benedictus benedicat Amen
(You who are blessed, bless this)