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The Easy Act of Witness That Tells Strangers God Exists


Saying grace in public is a little thing that means a lot.

You want to push back against those trying to denude the public square of Christianity? Start small. Start with saying grace before meals even in public. Did I say small? I mean tiny. But tiny does not mean insignificant.

Don’t do it to make a statement, because almost nothing’s a worse witness than the one put on for show. “Hey, people, look at me being a Christian” just makes other Christians want to martyr you.

Say grace because it’s a duty and a privilege of the Christian life to thank God, and for whatever reasons we’ve decided that before we eat is a time we should do that. Say grace in public because the duty is one to be exercised, and the privilege one to be enjoyed, at all times and in all places. It should be as natural as shaking hands when you meet someone.

You may have had this experience too: You go to lunch with someone you know to be a Christian and when your food arrives there’s that awkward moment when you don’t know whether to excuse yourself to say grace or to ask if he wants to say it together. I have had people, including ministers, tell me — usually, but not always, sheepishly — that they never say grace in public. They say that they don’t want to cause a scene or draw attention to themselves or even hold the faith up to ridicule. I think they often just want to avoid having some lout say something rude to them. So they dine as the godless do, as St. Paul might have put it.

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