Perhaps one of the strangest symptoms of the COVID 19 virus has been the loss of taste. Some people who have contracted the virus lose their ability to taste. Indeed, it would be a strange sensation to put something in your mouth, and your taste buds do not respond to what is there. Eating and drinking would lose all their pleasure. Taste is important to us.
In Psalm 34, the psalmist writes, “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) The psalmist invites us to taste, that is, experience God as part of our lives. It is an invitation to join our lives with God’s presence. A presence, a taste, that is good. God desires to share in his goodness. God invites us to experience a life that is full, complete, and satisfying, the good life.
Yet, it is always up to us to choose to taste that which is offered to us by God. God will not force-feed us when it comes to a relationship with God. We can accept and receive or reject and turn away from God’s invitation. In Jesus, we experience God’s goodness and life. In Jesus, we can taste the very nature of God. To know Jesus is to know God. To taste the life that Jesus offers is to experience God. In the Gospels, Jesus often compared himself to bread and water and invited people to partake of the water and the bread of life, which would satisfy our thirsts and our hunger.
In our world, as in the day of Jesus, there are many things that invite us to taste and experience them with a promise of satisfaction and fulfillment. We are offered a daily taste menu of things that promise to provide us with the life we long for, a life of wealth, pleasures, fame, power, and the like. And while they may taste wonderful to us, we soon discover that they never seem to satisfy, so we begin long for something else. This is one of the themes in the parable of the prodigal son. The wayward son traveled to a distant country to taste the good life, only to lose everything. He ended up hungering for the same slop that he now fed pigs to for a living. He now lived with a bad taste in his mouth. Yet, as the story unfolds, realizing what he had thrown away when he left his father’s house, he decides to return to perhaps find a job as one of his father’s servants. Yet, when his father sees him coming home, he greets his lost son with hugs and kisses and throws a party complete with the best food and drink of his father. The prodigal son is invited once again to taste and see the father’s goodness.
We, too, are invited to taste and see God’s goodness. However, our tasting of God is not an end. We are now called to live our lives in such a way that creates God’s good taste for those around us. When people experience us, do they taste God’s goodness? In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, he states, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13) As followers of Jesus, we are called to make the world taste better by living Jesus’s kind of life. We are called to create the kind of taste the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the church at Galatia: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22-23) We are invited to live tasty lives.
So, “taste and see that the Lord is good.” And having tasted, then go and live a life that creates the flavor of Jesus Christ so that all might experience the goodness of God.