At Table with Martin Franzmann—and Beyond

At the Fall Faculty Forum a few years ago, Prof. Kent Burreson gave theFranzmann Pray for Joy blessing before the noon luncheon using a prayer entitled “Grace Before Meat” authored by Martin Franzmann and contained in his little volume Pray for Joy (St. Louis: Concordia, 1970).  It goes like this:

We live not, Lord, by bread alone;
Without Thy blessing bread were stone.
For bread and for Thy kindly word,
We thank and bless Thee, God our Lord.

It was very impactful, deeply moving those assembled.  Bumartin_franzmannt later I got to thinking: my sainted teacher, Dr. Franzmann, was surely referencing our Lord’s temptation in this prayer, by using the wording “bread” and “stone.”  Yet something seemed wrong.  It’s not that without a table blessing our bread is stone.  And is the kindly word what we are really thankful for?  What happened to “living” by bread alone?  Couldn’t the prayer—hush my mouth!—actually be improved, to bring it more in line with what our Lord says to Satan at his first temptation, recorded in Matthew 4 (“Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”)?  I have given it a try.  See what you think.  And consider using either one:

We live not, Lord, by bread alone;
Without Thy word our bread were stone.
For bread and Thy life-giving word,
We thank and bless Thee, God our Lord.

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1 Comment

  1. Damian Snyder July 12, 2016
    Reply

    May I suggest, “The bread of thy life-giving word”? Thus, creating a double entendre wherein the bread (that we eat) is created by God’s life-giving word (a la Genesis 1) AND the bread that gives us eternal life us (a la John 6) is the Christ, God’s logos.

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