The Taste of Worship

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:8).

- Psalm 34

Analyzing sound in worship is easy because music is present in the corporate praise of Christians the world over. Taste, another sense used in Christian worship, is the focus of our study today.

Taste is an important part of our experience, and as such it is often used metaphorically. For example, we can call unpleasant sounds “sour notes” because, generally speaking, we do not like to eat sour foods. Or, we might say that someone has a “sweet” disposition because they are a joy to be around, and we are familiar with the satisfaction that comes from foods sweet to the taste. Scripture also uses taste analogically to teach doctrine and to help us develop affection for the things we should love. For instance, David conveys the pleasure found in the Lord by urging us, figuratively, to taste God’s goodness for ourselves (Ps. 34:8).

Throughout history, our Father has used the taste buds to help His people recall their salvation. For example, the Israelites ate bitter herbs during Passover (Ex. 12:8) to recall the bitterness of their slavery before the Lord saved them from Egypt (1:8–14). God chose the Passover foods based on the things He wanted His people to learn.

Under the new covenant, the Lord’s Supper celebrates our salvation in Christ, and the elements He used are the ones we must use as well. Jesus consecrated bread and wine, not Coca-Cola and candy (Matt. 26:26–29). We will miss what God wants us to learn if we use elements besides those Christ gave us.

As a staple food the world over, bread depicts God’s supply of our needs. Moreover, Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Eating bread at His Table makes us see that we must feed on Christ spiritually to meet our spiritual needs just as bread satiates our physical hunger.

Wine can have a bitter or sour taste. Yet the Lord gave it to “gladden the heart” of man (Ps. 104:14–15), and so the drink is commonly used in celebrations. Like wine, Good Friday was the bitterest of all days, as Jesus endured the shame of the cross. Yet just as wine may bring us joy, the salvation He purchased makes Good Friday the most joyous of all days for God’s people.

Coram Deo

God has graciously given us many different foods, and every time we taste something we should remember the goodness of the Lord and His marvelous provision of our basic sustenance. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a church family, we should also keep in mind the lessons God wants us to learn as we taste the elements. Through the bitter death of His Son, our Father has given joy to His people.

Passages for Further Study

Num. 15:1–21
2 Chron. 30
John 2:1–11
1 Cor. 10:16

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