by Charles Lamb
Point: Perhaps our habit of saying grace before a meal is not appropriate. It fails to be appropriate not because the Maker does not deserve thanks, but because the Eater is not truly thankful.
Path: Lamb humorously demonstrates the disjunction made between the man’s prayer and the man’s manners at the dinner table.
Sources: Lamb relies on his many hours spent before a table, in the company of both children, gentlemen, and gluttons.
Agreement: Lamb makes the comparison of the belly to a god. I think he is exactly right. Our appetites rule over us. Whether one gorges, or starves themselves, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame.
Personal App: When I sit down to pray before a meal, do I thank God for his provision at every occasion, or merely at feasts? And do I take this thankful spirit with me as I open my mouth again to eat?
Some Favorite Quotes:
“The form then of the benediction before eating has its beauty at a poor man's table, or at the simple and unprovocative repasts of children. It is here that the grace becomes exceedingly graceful.”
“It is a confusion of purpose to mutter out praises from a mouth that waters.”
“The giver is veiled by his gifts.”
“I would have them postpone their benediction to a fitter season, when appetite is laid; when the still small voice can be heard, and the reason of the grace returns--with temperate diet and restricted dishes. Gluttony and surfeiting are no proper occasions for thanksgiving.”
“but the proper object of the grace is sustenance, not relishes; daily bread, not delicacies; the means of life, and not the means of pampering the carcass.
Stars: 5 out of 5
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.