A prayer for starting dinner?
I finally found something that I do (almost) every day and that feels right. A few weeks ago I realized that making dinner could be a spiritual practice.
It is a practical task with spiritual components. I can express gratitude for the animals, vegetables and minerals and work that go into it. I can do the work in an attitude of willing service. I can use the gifts that God gave me to plan and prepare the meal. I can offer this gift to my family and our guests.
Since then, I find that when I view it like that, I make better dinners.
I went back to planning the meals in advance, and doing the grocery shopping more efficiently. If I don't have to think about what to make at 5:00, it's easier all round. It's more likely to be ready on time and I'm less likely to be stressed out and cranky with my children. If I've planned what to make, I'm more likely to make balanced meals. I include more variety, more salads and vegetables. I think about a dessert that would complement the meal in fillingness and nutrition- occasionally it's a pie, more often it's canned peaches or half a fresh grapefruit.
And sometimes I remember to go about it prayerfully. More often, it's after the fact that I think, oh yes, that was an act of grace. I want to be more mindful of the practice while it's going on.
So now I'm looking for a short prayer to say when I walk into the kitchen each night to start making dinner. I'm open to traditional prayers from any religious tradition, if you know any. I'd really like something that invoked the Christ-like self I'm trying to develop. I want something that I can say every day regardless of what I'm making or how I feel about cooking at that moment. I will write it out on a piece of paper and tape it to the cabinet to remind myself. I do not want anything that's going to take up a lot of time or require more stuff to sit on my counter (for example, no candles, no bowls of water, no salt to spill).
I tried last night to simply write down the sentiments I want to express. Here's what I've got so far:
I ask your blessing on the meal I come to prepare.
May we be grateful for its provenance.
May it nourish our bodies.
May we share it generously.
May my service find favor with you.
I love you.
It's a little too long, and it's not quite what I was hoping for, but it's a start. I'm not very experienced at composing prayers. Although I did once get to script the Archbishop of San Francisco at an event I was organizing...
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