Growing up in a home that did not say grace before meals, I lacked the understanding of saying grace before a meal. Grace was not said for every action we carried out and so it seemed like a hollow act. I saw it as “God would know I was thankful because I bunged it in with everything else” but now I have come to realise that it is something a lot more fundamental than that.
The process food takes to get to our plate is sometimes a long forgotten one. Unless you are the farmer who toiled, tirelessly to produce the food, or the manufacturer who processed the food, you are unlikely to even comprehend the long process the food has taken to get to your plate. Before we even tampered with the process, food took a long time to produce; from a seed beginning its life in the ground; to the nutrients and sunlight it took to make that plant grow plus many more steps.
With each step in the food process that we add we become more and more disconnected from the gift from God. We also can become more distant from one another. There was a time when there would be long days spent growing the food and long days creating meals together as a community. People may not have always got on but community was around. Over time the process has become anonymous. From not knowing to who spent time toiling the soil to not even knowing the shop owner who sold you the item of food. We often choose our food items on the marketing the brands have paid to entice us with their story, not necessarily a real one just one that they hope we can connect too. We have made the process mindless.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
As I re-evaluate my view of grace I have come to see that this act is not just about saying thank-you for me mindlessly entering a shop, anonymously selecting my food and throwing it together with some “love”, this is about more than that. This is about acknowledging the beautiful complex processes that have taken place for the food to reach my plate. This is about creating the connections and relationships between food, God and the people that surround us. This is about centring myself, making how I eat and what I eat for the glory of God. For it is only when that I take out the mindless and replace it with the mindful that I can truly begin to battle the rest of my problems with food and today’s society.