5 Easter, April 29
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation” (Ps. 22:25). The place is stated: the great congregation, in the midst of your Church, among your people (Ps. 22:22; Ps. 35:18). To be sure, praise may be offered anywhere by anyone. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Ps. 103:22). Whereas praise may be given anywhere, praise must be given in this place, in the congregation, among the faithful.
The Church is assigned the task of giving voice to every creature under heaven. We leave the world, step into the sacred space of liturgy: listen, behold, beseech, and give thanks. We praise with our whole being; but, in truth, we do not do it. “From you comes my praise” (Ps. 22:25). “Lord, open our lips. And our mouth shall proclaim your praise” (Ps. 51:15; Morning Prayer). “Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long” (Ps. 71:8).
God has done this. God has appointed the place of his eternal praise, God has directed steps to this sacred space, and God has opened mouths and made them full of praise and glory. “You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another” (John 15:16-17). God chooses and appoints that we may bear fruit and love one another. Oh, the generosity of God. Oh, the goodness of God. Oh, the wonder of God. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
In the beginning — God. Not to us, not to us, but to your name we give glory because you have chosen us as witnesses to your creating and preserving power, and your redemption of the world in the work of Jesus Christ. God has called us to live through his Son. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father’s love. The Son is love and love’s response to the Father. Love is a blessed Trinity of distinct persons and a simple unity of being. “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7) “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). “As he is [love], so are we in the world” (1 John 4:17). We are here. We lift every voice and sing. We give voice to every creature under heaven because we have been chosen for this life and work of love.
What happened to you? How did you receive the gospel? Were you not once like the Ethiopian eunuch who, on a wilderness road, sat in his chariot reading sacred words without comprehension? Did you not work and live and try in some way to make sense of life, but fall short of deep understanding? Jesus Christ, in the person of Philip, ran to the Ethiopian, sat beside him, and spoke to him about the Good News. Did not Jesus Christ run to you, sit with you, and speak to you?
Look It Up
Read Acts 8:30.
Think About It
Run! Make speed to help us!