Every night since I remember sitting at the dinner table, those words blessed our supper – grandmother’s fried chicken or taco chicken casserole – or maybe a Friday night steak or some baby beef liver, mama’s mashed potatoes and gravy – she could make a gravy for anything, or Aunt Joyce’s salad dressing.
When I married, and our son was born, the words to the blessing changed.
“For what we’re about to receive,
May the Lord make us truly thankful”
I think I lifted it from The Sound of Music – but the words seemed right at home at my table.
For a few years, my first-born added the words, at every meal, no matter who was there, “and Jesus, send me a baby brother.”
A few years later, and quite a few baby brothers later, the second son, he would take over the dinner prayer, beaming in the spotlight – praying long and creatively over dinner.
As each boy entered into the teen years – the man growing years, they retreated from the spotlight, grateful for a daddy who led the prayer.
One dinner, a while back, maybe it was Thanksgiving at my aunts –my husband sat at the head of the table, started the prayer, looked at me, and smiling, I held up my hands, wiggled my fingers,
And he prayed,
“For what we’re about to receive
May the Lord make us truly thankful.
Thank you for being a God of second chances
And bless the hands that prepared dinner.”
When all of us gather for Big Dinner – that’s when I cook big, the table setting has the good stuff, the glasses all match, maybe the leaf placemates are out– and all the boys, my daughter-in-law, my DIL-to-be and sweet little Ava Grace come – we circle round in the kitchen, heads bow – and if anyone’s stolen a bite – they stop in the midst of getting rid of the evidence – quiet their hands, feet and mouths –
. . . and thank God for the blessings.
My husband smiles up at me at the end, as he asks God to bless the hands they prepared the meal.
(This is where I’m supposed to stop – the 5 minute mark – but we all know I can’t!)
The other night, though, one of the boys to men the biggest brother of them all prayed for so long ago- he led the dinner prayer . At the end, he did something none of the brothers have done before: he blessed the hands that prepared the dinner.
My heart just melted into a thank you prayer, not a preening prayer – but a thank you of the glimpse God gave me of something carefully planted in these boyd-to-men hearts that sometimes grow knots that take a prayer-journey time to untangle.
Bless the hands Father – not for big and little dinners.
not just the cucumber carver’s hands or the dish-washing hands – but bless the hands holding onto little ones learning to walk, that move over key-boards filing reports of work accomplished, goals met, money spent and saved that keep other hands productive, able to provide homes, transportation, 3 square meals a day, warmth in the winter, blankets to wrap in.
Bless the hands, Father, that lift each other up when another falls down,
hands holding hands crossing to the other side,
Hands that wipe tears, and pull into hugs.
Hands that gently, firmly correct behavior, alphabet letters, and open red, yellow, blue and green paint bottles for finger swirls.
Bless the hands that drop plates, misplace keys, iron imperfectly
Hands that turn pages, tuck blankets, wipe down counters, fold laundry, push lawn mowers, weed-eat
Hands new to a steering wheel, that hide yawns and laughter, pour milk, make coffee, careful enough to erase math mistakes for correct answers
Bless the hands that reach to family,
pick up turtles
Hands that reach to community
catch hopping frogs
Hands reaching to a world uncomfortable, unfamiliar
trying to feed a baby bird lost from its nest
Bless the hands Father of each of us, in all that we turn them to – big and little things, little and big – that it might give glory to you!
Let the work of our hands worship you.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecc 9:10a)
And do it with all your heart – as though doing it for God (Col 3:23)
Pull up a chair, settle in have a cup of Key Lime Ginger tea with a spoonful of honey and head over to Lisa-Jo’s and share your own post on the word. . . Hands . . on this not-yet-raining Five-Minute Friday. Find out what other hands had to write.