Tuesday, December 25, 2012
our daily rice
There is a simple hymn I learned in Sunday School, which we always sang before meals. It is generally known as the Hibi-no-kate song, and it serves as the equivalent of what, in English, is known as "saying grace." Roughly translated, the words mean: Praise to the God of Grace who provides our daily food.
I was recently asked by a childhood friend to illustrate this song in etegami style, so that it could be printed on dishes and place mats to be given as Christmas presents this year for her friends and family. These are the two designs I came up with. They depict the simplest of Japanese meals--the rice ball.
In Japanese tradition and folklore, the rice ball represents some very basic and precious things. Sometimes it represents a mother's love, other times it represents the difference between starving to death and life sustained for another day. It is the food that we carry with us when we travel. It provides not only for our own need, but can, and often will, be shared with a hungry stranger. To me, it represents God's day-by-day, unfailing provision of what sustains my life. A sandwich wouldn't convey quite the same significance to me, but maybe it would to you. Or, perhaps there is another food that has the same meaning for you?