In a recent conversation, I noted a particular question that was posed about “blessing the food” when we gather to eat. Here are my reflections: We do not ask for the food to be blessed, per se, but we bless the Lord and we give thanks for the food.
- “We do not ask for the food to be blessed, per se,…” – What I mean by this is that the “food” does not need “blessed” (I’m never quite sure what that is supposed to really mean in many of our contexts). I have been witness to prayers offered for God to bless by making nutritional what was self-confessed by the one praying as not nutritional (think Twinkies). The food that we eat is our choice and responsibility. If we should not consume it because of health issues then simply don’t consume it. However, we do well to not ask for some “blessing” for what we already know to not be blessed by the Lord. However, if it may be “consecrated” (another factor in being “blessed”) then we do well to do so in faith. Whatever we eat or drink must be done in faith. If we can do such, then we may “consecrate” (or “bless”) the food given by the Father for our enjoyment and His good pleasure (cf. Matthew 26:26; 1 Cor.10:16).
- “…but we bless the Lord…” – If any blessing is to be requested and/or given, it is a blessing of the Lord for His grace and mercy in provision. We do well to bless the Maker of heaven and earth. We do well to bless the Father of Lights who knows how to give good and perfect gifts (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17) to those who ask Him.
- “…and we give thanks for the food.” – In everything we give thanks, because we recognize ourselves to be the undeserving children of God. Let us give thanks as our Lord Jesus gave thanks in sharing the supper with his disciples (Luke 24:30).
ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, המוציא לחם מן הארץ.
“Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.”
Let it be said by God’s people: “You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you.” (Deut.8:10 – NRSV)