Friday, March 24, 2006

Stolen "Grace"

Thieves broke into my parents’ home and stole electronic gadgets, jewelry, blankets and one more thing. Before they made their get-away, they took a framed print off the wall and that completed their plunder.

The print was a copy of a famous photograph, “Grace,” taken in Bovey, Minnesota, 1918, by Eric Enstrom. The familiar print hangs in homes and businesses worldwide. The subject is a bearded, older gentleman posed in prayer. On the table before him is a book, a pair of spectacles, a bowl of gruel, a knife, and a loaf of bread.

What caused burglars to steal a print depicting prayer? Who knows? But the very act has me thinking about robbing God of thanks for food. When thanks is given before a meal, it is often referred to as “saying grace,” or saying “a blessing” over the food.

From Jewish history there are examples of expressing thanksgiving to God before and after a meal. “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:10).

Jesus broke bread and gave thanks. Praise before a meal was directed to God who bountifully “brings bread out of the earth,” says Jerusalem scholar David Bivin.

Mr. Bivin goes on to say, “One does not bless the food, nor does one even ask God to bless the food. One blesses God who provides the food.”

When a bearded, saintly old man walked into Eric Enstom’s photography studio in 1918, the photographer saw a kind face with no malice. Charles Wilden was a peddler who hoped to sell a foot-scraper to Mr. Enstrom.

Mr. Enstrom was preparing a portfolio to take to a photography convention. He said he wanted to take a photo that would “show people that even though they had to do without many things because of the war they still had much to be thankful for.”

Enstrom asked the peddler if he would pose for him. The photographer said of Wilden, “To bow his head in prayer seemed to be characteristic . . . for he struck the pose very easily and naturally.”

Hurried people sometime forego a blessing toward God, and “grace” is stolen. Lead your family in giving thanks to the “one who brings bread from the earth.”

No comments:

Post a Comment