Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
In 2013, Diane and I spent three weeks in France. We were hosted during part of that time by Michael and Valérie Smith at the Manoir du Poul in Brittany. We also spent time in Paris. Highlights of that time there were seeing the beaches of Normandy, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and a Vivaldi concert at Saint Chapelle (the windows of which are pictured above).
Toward the end of that time there, however, a heaviness began to descend on us. We had not been able to gather with other Christians for public worship for three Sundays straight. There are few active churches in France. Fewer still would have services in English – and our French, no thanks even to Rosetta Stone, was barely functional even for buying gas for the car.
I remember vividly how deeply refreshed we were when we were able to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ once we were back in Texas! The first Sunday back I was nearly in tears when we spoke the words of the Apostle’s Creed.
It is no small thing to be free to gather to worship God. Nor should we need to absent ourselves from worship for three weeks to appreciate that fully. I look forward to worshiping with the people of God at St. John this morning. It is good to be in God’s house. It is “good, right, and salutary, that we should at all times and all places” give thanks to God. His praise is properly always to be on our lips. It is a privilege to confess the name of Jesus who died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead in victorious triumph.
We think today about the recent events in Paris, and the terror of violence and bloodshed throughout the Middle East and cry, “Lord, have mercy!” Our prayers will be lifted before God in behalf of all who suffer. And we will rejoice in God’s eternal savlation, praising the Lamb who was slain and who now reigns for all eternity.