Rev Dr Michael Banner, Dean and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
Thursday, 31 May, 2012
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous – I think)
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image has found disturbing evidence that many people are not happy with their bodies. Some eat too much, others want to develop the muscle often seen in magazines.
The solution to all this unhappiness is to say grace before meals. A good one is “Bless us, Invisible Magic Friend, and your gifts.”
This grace asks the Invisible Magic Friend to bless us and to bless his gifts. It is a double blessing, in that both we and his gifts are being asked to be blessed. It is, if you like, requesting the Invisible Magic Friend to bless the food that he has given us and to bless us as well. In other words he, the Invisible Magic Friend, who has decided that we may have some food, should bless the food, and us, so that we may not starve as others do.
Yes, you may have worked hard to earn the food. Yes, others may have worked hard to produce it and bring it to your table. Yes, you may live in a society at peace, that respects the rule of law and allows a stable infrastructure that can produce and transport food safely. All of this is thanks to the Invisible Magic Friend, who for some reason has decided that other parts of the world will not be so fortunate.
When some people constantly diet and others eat too much, something is wrong. There is something not right. Whatever it is that is wrong, something should be done about it, and that something, whatever it is to fix whatever is wrong, should be done by somebody.
Christ, who was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend until his lift off into space, said we should ask for our daily bread. Otherwise the Invisible Magic Friend might decide that we’re one of the ones who won’t get our daily bread. The Invisible Magic Friend is just like that.
He also said that we do not live by bread alone. This means the following.
“Though the needs of our physical natures must be satisfied, even daily bread will be a blessing to us and to others, only as we govern and order our appetites and desires, by an idea of ourselves as something more than merely well nourished and beautiful bodies.”