Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 290 Hallelujah or Burst

Dear friends,

In a far from shocking development, C.S. Lewis helped me figure out something I've been puzzling over for a long time. It's about this whole matter of praising God. Now I know the Great One has no need to have us tell Him how great He is. He is the Supreme Fact, and does not have some large ego or a pack of insecurities to assuage. Our praise of God does not add a molecule to His perfection, nor does our lack of wonder and adoration take away a nano breath of His worth. So why the emphasis in the Psalms, to the point of extreme repetition, to continually worship God? Why the command from God Himself to use our mouths and our bodies to express His matchless value?

So Clive (that's C.S.'s first name) gave me insight today and I had one of those "maybe I get this a tiny bit" moments. Here's some of how he put it:

"(Previously) I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers praising their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game- praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least…..I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but COMPLETES the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation."

So there it is. Maybe one reason God makes such a fuss about praise is not for His benefit, but for ours. Woven in to the fabric of being human is the capacity to know and enjoy our Creator. Because we are distracted from Him by the thin veil of this mortal world, it seems to me that praise can get blocked up, when it is meant to freely flow. To "practice" praise is therefore not foolish, nor does it have to be rote, but a setting of ourselves in a place to perhaps, even if only for a moment, feel the breeze of that enjoyment of God we were designed to experience without hindrance before the fall.

Again, brother Clive describes our efforts to enter into praise with all our earthly limitations:

"We are not riders but pupils in the riding school; for most of us the falls and bruises, the aching muscles, and the severity of the exercise, far outweigh those few moments in which we were, to our own astonishment, actually galloping without terror and without disaster".

With all the colossal goodness shown to me all my life, and in particular in the past 9 months, I know the feeling of praise in the back of my throat like a racehorse at the gate straining to break through. And on those good days when I can express it a little bit, I get what Lewis means about about it completing the enjoyment. Sharing it with you is like sharing a sunset or telling someone a good joke. Praise God, who was, and is and is to come!

Don't forget to sign up for the dessert night. You have time, but why not do it now? I got a list of some of the desserts. Two words: Double Yum.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


1 comment:

Mary Louise said...

So it seems that our praise of God flows from our love of Him and His wonders, so when praise is not flowing, we're not focusing on the right thing. How can I not see His hand of mercy and blessings? Sometimes it's way too easy to overlook the blessings and just concentrate on the steepness of the trail or rocks in the way. But then we miss the scenery! Thanks for the reminder.