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Taste and See: Learning to Praise the Lord

Psalm 34:1-8, NRSV


The miserable idea that God should in any sense need, or crave for our worship like a vain [person] wanting compliments, or a vain author presenting his books to people he never met or heard of him, is implicitly answered by the words, ‘If I be hungry I will not tell thee’ (Psalm 50:12). Even if such an absurd Deity could be conceived, He would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures, to gratify His appetite. I don’t want my dog to bark approval of my books… The most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all the enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness of fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars… I had not notices that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to joint them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak about what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praising of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its own appointed consummation.
— C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Psalms

  • Invitation to tasting: Personal and Communal
  • Poetry style in Psalm: Expand and magnify the same idea with multiple verses
  • Whether it is personal or communal, it all depends on God, depends on the real spiritual food from God
  • Taste of the Good News

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