Last week my preschool aged son came home from his secular (I thought) daycare singing a (rather religious) meal blessing they’d taught them in school. I was a little…miffed, I guess…by this. I’ve always been very much of the opinion that religion should be taught at home and in church (if that’s your path), but not in school (unless, of course, you’re attending a parochial school). I was brought up very liberally and encouraged to sample religions not of the mainstream (at least not in the rural-ish South) as a kid, a teen, and a young adult. Most of my formative years (from about 11 to about 17) were in a Unitarian Universalist church and that’s where I’ve found myself drawn to repeatedly as I’ve wandered (and wondered). Personally, I’ve never been one for much formal prayer. I’ve always been more of an ongoing informal conversation with God kind of girl. A very wise man…whose name escapes me at the moment…once said that if the only prayer you say in life is “Thank You.” that that will be more than enough. As a result of this kind of mindset, I was kind of at a loss for what to do.
After talking to my (very wise) mother, I decided not to take issue with the school, but to go ahead and institute a meal blessing more to our taste in our home…and, also, to redouble my efforts to get us to our nearest UU church (almost an hour away…le sigh) on a more regular basis. So, tonight I’ve found a few blessings to set beside a candle on the table. I guess we’ll rotate through them until I find which one works best for us.
This is my current favorite:
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything your goodness sends,
—Adapted from a grace of Ralph Waldo Emerson by the
Rev. Phil Lund