What exactly is praise? Most believers have an idea of what it means to praise God, It is singing, and shouting, and giving thanks to our Lord for all the good He gives and does for us.
It also seems to me that over the years the meaning and practice of praise has strayed from what we are given in the book of Psalms. Praise is an emotive thing, and emotional cry to God, seeking an emotional response from Him. While most certainly ties to our emotions, this view of praise cute out the richness of what God’s Word teaches us about it.
First, the foundational truth of the Christian church is that the Gospel Word of salvation in Jesus, the good news that for you Jesus gave Himself to die, that in Him you may have forgiveness of sins. Thus all the grace and blessing of God flow from Jesus and His Word, and go out to all people. Nothing can separate you from the gift of Christ Jesus. No one is excluded from receiving this gift by faith in Him.
This truth unites all people, the true God of light and life has come, and in Him is our hope of salvation. Out light in the midst of darkness. Our life in the midst of death. Praise then is the result of the saving work of Jesus for you.
Praise then begins with God’s work for you, not with your feelings toward God. Jesus called you His own child in Baptism, turning a rebellious sinner into a beloved child. And when your life went off the track, and you found yourself doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason, Jesus, by His Word called you to repent, and return to Him. All of these wondrous works of the Lord are worthy of praise.
Praise then is our response of faith and gratitude to the God of our salvation.
It is noteworthy that the first miraculous sign recorded by St. John, by which Jesus shows His glory is at a wedding. A wedding is a place and time of praise, for God has joined tow people, a man and a woman together, and has blessed them. This gives to us an earthly picture of Jesus and the church. The heavenly bridegroom soon will come, and we, His church will with praise and joy enter with Him into the eternal marriage feast.