At her first meal with the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music (a movie I have watched dozens of times), Fraulein Maria admonishes them for not saying grace: “Excuse me Captain, haven’t we forgotten to thank the Lord?” Shamed into it, the Captain complies with Maria’s earnest desire to give thanks for the food.
Perhaps that cinematic prayer was a little hammy, but I want to urge you that saying grace before a meal, if it’s not already your habit, is an excellent practice to adopt. It is the easiest way to bring regular prayer into your household, and may be the beginning of a deeper prayer life.
“Gratitude” is a buzz word these days; gratitude is apparently good for our wellbeing, and you can even buy a gratitude diary! I think this is salutory as far as it goes, but what the Kikki K generation lacks is a Giver to receive their gratitude. Gratitude without a God to thank is simply a feeling of being lucky. Perhaps this makes for a positive outlook on life, but the Fraulein’s complaint still applies: we’ve forgotten to thank the Lord! As the Prayer Book says, it is our “bounden duty” that we should always thank our Mighty Creator.
At meal times, we are reminded that we’re not self-sufficient. Our bodies could not keep functioning without God’s bountiful provision. Every morsel comes from God’s gracious hand. So don’t forget to thank him before you eat. I would be enormously encouraged to hear of anyone who adopts this practice for the first time.
In brief, Ash Wednesday communion is on this Wednesday at 7.00 pm, followed by our seminar Making the Most of Devotions in the Parish Room. All finished by 8.30 pm, so it’s not a late night. Looking forward to seeing you there.