May 13, 2020

Happiness Doubled

Top chefs place a great deal of emphasis on the way they present food because they say that we first taste with our eyes. Strangely, though, the psalmist says the reverse is also true: We first see with our taste buds.

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
✙ Psalm 34:8

As is the case with most people, I've always interpreted this verse as telling me that by tasting, I will be able to sense God's goodness. But in meditating on it, I suppose it's also possible that the psalmist is telling me to taste God's goodness and also see God's goodness... in other words, a person of faith should use their senses (probably not just taste and sight, but all the others as well) to know of the goodness of God.
As it turns out, this interpretation works well with Calvin's comment on the same verse. I'll paraphrase it:
The psalmist is indirectly critical of those who don't sense God's goodness, which ought to be more than just a simple fact we know. By using the word taste, the psalmist implies that we're not relishing God's gifts, but simply devouring them with no appreciation.
I felt rather convicted by this, because though this is one of my favorite verses, I tend to think of it (and use it) only in reference to the Lord's Supper. This isn't a bad thing, except that this particular usage of the verse has led me away from a more generalized meaning—namely, that every bite of food I swallow (indeed, every puff of air I breathe, every drop of water I drink, every beautiful sight I see, etc.) should remind me that everything I have is a blessing from God. To eat, drink, breathe, live without gratitude is to "devour the gifts of God without relishing them."

So before I pray, I'll remember something G.K. Chesterton once said: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. "

Forgive me for taking, Lord, without acknowledging that yours is the hand that gives. Thank you for all your good gifts, in the Name of him who taught me to receive my daily bread as from your hand by praying: Our Father...

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