God Is Great, God Is Good

This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “Saying Grace Over Dinner.”

OK, this week’s is particularly hard, because of the things it’s not. “Prayer” in general has its own topic, on Week 38, and Week 15 also covers some of the stuff I might otherwise say today.

So, within those constraints, random thoughts:

— I’m better about giving thanks with other people than alone, and I’m far better at it with other believers than not. Either might seem like hypocrisy, but there’s a reason I’ll get to later. Trying to do better about doing it by myself.

— I was at a dinner a couple of weeks ago that I totally should have prayed before, and didn’t. And afterwards, had no idea why. It wasn’t even oversight; it was a conscious decision. In a way, it was tantamount to denial. And that bugs me.

— Susanna used to say, quoting, I believe, her pastor father, that if you have to catch up with God at mealtime, you’re doing something wrong. And I agree.

— My youngest brother has prayed the same blessing since he was a wee slip of a lad. It intrigues me, because part of his phrasing is “thank you for our creations.” And I’ve never been sure if he was thanking God for creating us, or for the things we create.

— I for a long time tried to stay away from formulaic blessings, which gets into some of what I’ll say in the prayer post. However, I find myself falling back into one. It’s not rigid, but I generally pray a close variation of it.

— That standard prayer generally includes thanks for the food, sometimes a request for it to be blessed, and almost always thanks and/or blessing for “the opportunity to break bread together.” As I alluded to earlier, this gets into Week 15, “The Rite of Communion.” I’ve come to believe that fellowship over food is an important part of Christian brotherhood, of “church,” as it were. The prayer then serves as a reminder to myself to consecrate that time to Him.

— Apropos of nothing, but when I typed the words in the title of this post, the immediate association was the Joan Osborne song “One of Us”.

“Yeah, yeah, God is great / Yeah, yeah, God is good / Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Yeah Yeah”