Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Psalm of the week from A Congregation at Prayer is Psalm 34:1-8:
ESV Psalm 34:1 OF DAVID, WHEN HE CHANGED HIS BEHAVIOR BEFORE ABIMELECH, SO THAT HE DROVE HIM OUT, AND HE WENT AWAY. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
The praise which flows from the mouth of the church and from individual Christians has been placed there by God himself. We sing in the order of Matins, "O Lord, open my lips." And the response is, "And my mouth will declare your praise."
We confess in the meaning of the 3rd Article of the Apostles' Creed that "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened by with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith."
How does praise sound forth from our lips. God himself places it there when through the Holy Spirit, men and woman "taste and see that the LORD is good." I think of John 6, and Jesus' Bread of Life discourse, where he says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst" (v. 35).
Later in the same chapter Jesus says these words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink" (v. 53-55).
It is a marvelous thing when the praise of the Lord is continually in the mouth of the Church. For this can only happen when the Holy Spirit has revealed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and poor sinners have tasted and seen that the Lord is indeed good.
My dad used to say, "What goes in, must come out." I guess it's true of the Gospel as well. When Jesus' body and blood are put into mouths, and His Word is proclaimed into ears, what comes out is a glorious song of praise from a people that have found their eternal resting place.
O Lord, open our lips! Amen.