Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Praise What We Care About

Worship of God is enjoyment of God. We have no problem laughing at something funny, smiling at something pretty, "mmmm"-ing something delicious, humming something catchy, or cheering something exciting in the stadium, but when we get into church on Sunday mornings, we have trouble worshiping because we don't know and enjoy God the same way we know and enjoy jokes, pictures, food, songs, or sports.

In Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis writes:
But the most obvious fact about praise – whether of God or anything – strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses [Romeo praising Juliet and vice versa], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite 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. . . . Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible. . . . I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: 'Isn't she lovely? Wasn't it glorious? Don't you think that magnificent?' The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.
We praise what we care about.


Unknown said...

The two qualifiers Lewis uses have a lot of truth in them... "except where shyness and fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it," and "except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere."

Obviously the latter is largely non-existent in America. But I think we can go a long way in encouraging our friends/families towards praise of God by affirming our interest in their enjoyment of Him.

Dubbahdee said...

Or...we care about that which we praise.

Molly Betsy @ Star Cottage said...

Great post, and so true! Taking time to reflect on this one. Every once in a while my priorities get a little askew. Thanks for the reminder ;)