Updated: Nov 25, 2020
There’s a wistful (and embarrassing) story in our family surrounding the blessing of the meal. First, let me say how thankful I am for a father who insisted we all eat our meals together at the table. And that no one picked up a fork, filled a plate, or took a bite until he had said “The Blessing.”
Daddy had his own special brand on that charge. At every meal it was the same:
Not once did it occur to me this was a sentence which could be separated into distinguishable words. “Christ” and “blessings” were identifiable, but within the context, I always thought “The Blessing” was an amalgamated phrase which must be said in one breath -- and very fast, before the meal got cold.
It became clear something was missing in the context the first time I was invited to Sunday dinner by my best friend, Sharon. In true mid-century Father-Knows-Best style, her dad welcomed me and invited me to say “The Blessing” over the meal. Pleased to be able to share our unique, albeit unintelligible family blessing with this new host of friends, I quickly agreed. All four siblings held hands, with heads bowed, Dad at one end of the table, Mom at the other, as I recited with great gusto,
The roar and chortled snorts that occurred was far from the praise I expected! Mr. Ryder, broke out in a hearty guffaw. He quieted the bunch, politely thanked me, then went on to properly bless the food and hands that prepared it. I was red-faced and wished I did not have to open my eyes, mortified that my family blessing was something less than effective in ensuring that the food was, indeed, blessed.
You can be sure the following morning, eyes wide open, I watched my father and listened intently as he said “The Blessing” at the breakfast table. It was a few meals later before I finally had all the words properly sorted out, given his comfortably relaxed position, arms folded, head bent over his plate, and monotonal rote phrasing.
“Good Lord, make us thankful for these and all our blessings, we beg for Christ’s sake, Amen.”
Well, who knew that “The Blessing” was supposed to make sense to anyone but God!? Many moons later my sisters and I fondly came to refer to “The Blessing” as “The Ga’lawh”.
What exactly is “The Blessing”, and How Does One “Bless” a Meal?
We read that Jesus gave thanks and “blessed” the bread, broke it and gave it to the disciples to feed the five thousand on a hillside. He also “blessed” the bread and broke it when He shared the last supper with those in the upper room. What do you suppose he said that made bread so blessed it would multiply from five loaves to over five thousand? And what would bless the bread, which He Himself identified with as “Bread from heaven”, like tangible manna that would multiply and “feed” the thousands and thousands of followers that would come after his resurrection?
I’ve come to believe it was “The Blessing”, the same blessing spoken in the beginning over Adam and Eve by God in the garden of Eden.
Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Today I'm thankful and blessed to be on that assignment to be fruitful and multiply The Blessing in the earth, to replenish all that is diminished by sin, hatred, disease and greed with the love of God, and that I'm learning to take territory in the spirit everywhere my feet are planted. This Thanksgiving, let's all be mindful to be fruitful and multiply kindness, joy, hope, and compassionate love, as Daddy said, "for Christ's sake, Amen."