A Guest Message From Pastor Emely in El Salvador
Blessing of the Table is an ancient custom among Christians. In the Gospel accounts, our Lord Jesus not only gave thanks and blessings at the Last Supper, but also on other occasions recorded in Scripture; for example, before multiplying the loaves, where he blesses the food and pronounces a blessing of gratitude.
Blessing of the Table is a thanksgiving and a simple request, which follows the outline of the Lord's Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us, where we ask: “Give us today our daily bread”. We remember that the origin of all good things that delight and nourish us come from God. And, as we remember that they come from God and are for everyone, the Blessing of the Table encourages us to do our part as we are able so that no one lacks for food.
For those of us that do not lack food it is also good to focus on interpersonal relationships with family and neighbors. It leads us to address challenging issues, such as striving for social justice, so that there are fewer abused and hungry children. Our efforts are directed toward influencing municipal and national policies and ordinances to make this justice a reality; that is, to promote the values of the Kingdom of God here and now on earth.
In Bible school, the children made baskets for their families. The baskets are a symbol: the table is not in need of food. The baskets were delivered by the children on December 31 to families in the church. We also taught our children this prayer:
Prayer for Blessing of the Table:
Bless, Lord, our table.
Bless the brotherhood of harmony that exists between us.
Give us joy, peace, health and bread throughout our lives.
Give us strength and tenderness to be bold men and women all of our days.
We want to tell you one more time, Lord, that we believe in you with our child-like heart, we believe in you with our faith as adults.
As you did for men and women of the past, act in our midst so that we may show forth your Kingdom now, living lives of reconciliation, of goodness, love, sensitivity, justice ... real signs that our hearts will be the manger where you will be born again.
The baskets are produced by boys and girls providing for their families, and made by parents and mothers struggling to provide the basic needs of their family. As is true around the world, for some this is difficult due to a lack of opportunities; for others less so. Each basket includes a card where the prayer is written. The basket is made of jute, a rough fabric that reminds us how difficult it can be to provide food for the table, to fight for good relationships, to be peacemakers. The basket represents the effort each person makes to overcome their daily challenges.
Today all Christians are called upon to overcome the challenges faced in so many homes in order that they may receive their physical and spiritual food and thus ensure the blessing of the table.