I was contacted recently about reviewing a book. I get contacted to do a lot of things and turn many of them down. This one caught my eye and I contacted them and was sent this lovely book. Please take a few minutes to read the excerpt below. It's a wonderful book to keep close to the table and have a member of your family grab to choose what words will inspire you.
We are not a family that says grace on a regular basis. But, when we have the entire family together (which is usually during the holidays) my father always says a prayer before we enjoy our meal. Now we have a new tool to let anyone say a few inspirational words.
After reading through this book of graces from around the world, I wish we had started this when the kids were young. The author suggests letting your children pick from the prayers in the book and reading them at the table. A wonderful way to connect at the end of the day and a way to celebrate family.
Bless this Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World celebrates the universal cultural tradition of giving thanks for food, which is the prayer most commonly said in homes around the world. According to the author Adrian Butash, the simple act of saying a blessing before a meal can bring us closer to our brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. As he writes, "The occasional gathering for prayer, no matter how brief, keeps the heart and mind in touch with the most fundamental of joys: belonging."
Here is the excerpt from the book, I hope you enjoy!
Family and Guests Are a Blessing
An Excerpt from Bless this Food
Sharing food is the most universal cultural experience. Expressing thanks for food was humankind’s first act of worship, for food is the gift of life from above. In every culture there are sacred beliefs or divine commandments that require honoring the giver of life — God or the divine principle — through acknowledging the sacred gift of food. By admitting us to his table, God became bound to us in a unique relationship. By admitting God to our table, we experience the love and beauty of that relationship.
Paleolithic rock art presents evidence of the intellectual life of our prehistoric ancestors. Humankind’s earliest recorded beginnings employ food images as an expression of thankfulness to supreme beings. The Lascaux caves in southwestern France date from 30,000 years ago, and the paintings on their walls depict an array of horses, bulls, and stags — the animals of survival for the Cro-Magnons. The extraordinary art in these caves celebrates animals as both a gift from the Almighty and sustenance on earth. To me these paintings are pre-language symbolic thought, an illustration of thanks giving for life-sustaining food.
Likewise, in Egypt virtually of all of the wall paintings in ancient tombs honor the gods with gifts. Food is ever-present as both gift-offering and sustenance for the deceased pharaohs (kings) and their retinues when making the journey to the next life in the otherworld. Ancient Egyptian art contains many images of offering tables of food to the gods Osiris and Isis, depicting gifts of grapes, wine, sheaves of wheat, cakes of divine bread, duck, and fish being presented to the gods by royal priests, kings, and queens.
From humankind’s earliest beginnings to today, food is the thanks-giving link and universal form of expression for gratitude to the Almighty
While we recognize that religious worship has its center in churches, temples, and mosques, the family is the core of life. Gathering together to say a blessing before eating food is a wonderful way to bring God into our houses, right to the table with our families. Worship should be a vital part of every family’s life, but our modern, busy lifestyles often leave little time for regular religious worship. Today, the notion of the family is under siege by a barrage of social ills, and family life may be disrupted by parents’ absence as they work two jobs, by divorce, or by frequent separation resulting from business travel that takes parents away from home.
The family food blessing is a perfect and reverent way for the family to experience a direct kinship with the Almighty. A grace’s spiritual power can be felt as a profound sense of reality. God is present. A family praying together is a beautiful thing — a wonderful blessing all its own. When we say a grace at the table before eating, we give thanks for our togetherness, our blessings, and our happiness. For loved ones who are deceased, for friends and family who are far away, a grace said at the table that mentions their names is a magical way to honor them and have them rejoin the table in a sublime sense. Moreover, we should all say a grace and include a thankful mention of our servicemen and servicewomen. They will hear you.
Children need prayer models to see, hear, and experience in order to learn from the ritual. The table blessing is among the easiest and most enjoyable for children to partake in — coming as it does just before the family feast. Bless This Food has several blessings that young people will enjoy reciting for the family, one-minute performances that all will remember and cherish.
Bless this Food may be an especially useful tool when a guest or visitor at the table is called on to say grace, since many people are not comfortable with impromptu speaking. Keep the book near the table to provide guests with a ready script. They will find it easy to choose a blessing and then honor the occasion with a reading. A food blessing transforms everyone into a circle of friends.
About the Author
Adrian Butash is the author of Bless this Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World. He studied history and culture of the world at Fordham University. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA.
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Based on the book Bless this Food: Ancient & Contemporary Graces from Around the World © 2013 Adrian Butash. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com <http://www.newworldlibrary.com/> or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.
A huge thank you to the publishing company for giving me this opportunity. Have a wonderful day everyone!!
If you are interested in purchasing the book here are three links that can assist you!