“Can someone give me Grace?”
Sarah, my 6 yr old, sat pitiful in front of her “awful” meal. I never knew grilled cheese and tomato soup could elicit such a face of utter disgust from anyone. I mean, really. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are an American icon! How can she possibly compare this culinary joy with the likes of liver and onions (and mashed potatoes from a box!) that my mother used to pass off as a “healthy meal” that was “good for my eyes.”
In this house, giving Grace at the dinner table literally translates to, “Can someone eat the rest of my dinner for me because I really want to eat dessert and this meal is just too much to handle.”
God gave me this idea after hearing friends like Stacy Golovach, or Dianne Boutz, or any number of amazing, godly ladies who lined the 4th Street Coffee Club. One of these dear friends had just finished Parenting in the Pew, or maybe it was Grace Based Parenting. The title eludes me, but the principle? It stuck in my mind like my 5 yr-old Jack sticks to his costumes and weaponry.
Make the abstract ideas of your faith tangible to your children.
So we decided to make Grace tangible at our dinner table.
Growing up, Grace was something I said at dinner table, not something I experienced.
Bless us o Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive through thy goodness in Christ our Lord amen.
Yes. Just like that. All in one breath as fast as you can speak and still make your sister in the seat next to you keep up in time. Amen.
Grace. Done. Let’s eat.
But doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. And Grace isn’t what we say before releasing the hounds at the dinner table. Grace is entering into God’s invitation to join Him at the table. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him, not by carrying out a moral code in order to earn favor.
So we instituted Grace at the dinner table. If a child, or mother, or even Daddy willingly consumes the remains of another child’s meal, said child now may receive their (un)just dessert. We reward one for another’s consummation, and the unjust receives what they have not, nor could not earn on their own. They receive Grace. And in the process, we pray, they also hold onto the very real, very tangible truth that God offers us the same: reward for what we have not nor could not earn on our own – reconciliation to the Father, right relationship with God himself at the price non could repay – Jesus’ death on the cross.
Might I Pray for Us?
You alone are God. You alone receive your sons and daughters at the price paid by another – your one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to walk further up and further into a deeper understanding of your Grace. Help us to freely receive what we have not earned, nor what we could ever earn on our own. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Right relationship with You.
Notes of Encouragement
These notes surprised me at the breakfast table today. By the power of Pandora, I heard Rita Springer for the first time, and although she has been on the music scene for quite a few years, her voice and her words were fresh air on this, the first sunny day in a week here in northern Virginia. Oh God of Mine – Rita Springer
Words of Affirmation
Grace contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun.
—Philip Yancey, What’s so Amazing About Grace?