A Scandinavian Table Prayer
A lovely reader emailed me recently about the Norwegian table prayer sitting on the buffet in our dining room. Since this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten questions on that prayer, I thought I’d just do a little post about it.
My mom’s side of the family is from a heavily Scandinavian part of the country, and although they’ve got some Swedish in them, they seem to identify most with their Norwegian roots. But, you know….Norwegian, Swedish….it all boils down to Scandinavian!
“Welkommen” signs next to front doors, exclamations of “uff da”, and the occasional mention of lefse or the joke about lutefisk are not unusual when the family gets together. (If you haven’t heard about lutefisk, it’s herring pickled in lye, and it seems to be one of those things that you either love or can’t stand the sight of!)
Have I mentioned that I actually find lefse in the grocery store these days!?? Mmmm. We only buy it around Christmas, but yum. Good stuff. (Potato tortillas covered in butter and sugar – how could you possibly go wrong?)
Apparently, my grandma understands Norwegian, and I believe her parents spoke it fluently. One of these days, when Rosetta Stone starts offering Norwegian, I might actually try to learn some myself! (hint hint Rosetta Stone!)
Not too long ago, a large group of extended family even traveled to Norway to see the “homestead” from which our ancestors came oh….five generations ago (or so.)
So. Now that you’re sufficiently dozing off….back to the prayer. It’s a rather large frame, so it’s tough to get the whole prayer in focus (it extends the entire length of our buffet!) Also, I can’t take credit for the translation. It’s written on the back of the frame, and I’ve heard it from family members often enough to have it memorized.
I Jesu navn går vi til bords
å spise, drikke på ditt ord.
Deg, Gud til ære, oss til gavn,
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.
And in English, the translation is:
In Jesus' name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to His word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus' name.
As for where I got it, it was a wedding gift from an aunt, and I think one of her neighbors actually made it. Sorry I can’t point you to a specific source for it, but I’m sure if you must have one, they’re probably out there if you google around.