One of our communal practices at the Lotus House is singing grace before meals. Singing before meals is an ancient practice among Jews and Christians. Jews sing a brachah rishona before meals, especially on Shabat (Sabbath); a common blessing is:

Baruch atah Adonai

elohaynu melech ha’olam

hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz.

Which means: “Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” (You can listen to short version here.) Jesus probably prayed this prayer many times, and a similar prayer inspired the Lord’s Supper. Early Christians would have sung a similar blessing before their Agape Meals, and perhaps before daily meals as well.

Table Graces Pic

Lotus House Table Graces

Our community learned the practice of singing before meals by visiting other Christian intentional communities, especially Reba Place Fellowship and the Bruderhof. From these communities we learned the traditional Moravian blessing “Be Present at Our Table Lord” (probably our most frequently sung grace), the short round “For Health and Strength”, “Morning Has Come”, and the Adelynrood Grace. Some of our songs are simply traditional hymns of thanksgiving, such as the Doxology (sung every Friday evening at community dinner), “Praise Be to God,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and “We Gather Together.” We also borrowed a few from the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, who apparently sing grace at summer camp; some of these selections include “Coca-Cola Grace” and “Yankee Doodle Grace.” Finally, we made up a few blessings ourselves.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our collection of Table Graces. I’ve attached our songsheet in case anyone is interested in adopting the practice for their own family or community.

Table Graces