I had coffee with a friend of my this morning. It was a rambling conversation. One of those where you don’t quite solve all the world’s (and the church’s) problems but you at least mentioned most of them!
In the midst of all that, we did strike upon a theme which I thought was quite applicable for us as a church community during Alpha.
The theme was praise.
My friend pointed me to a chapter he’d read in a CS Lewis book on the Psalms.
Here’s part of that:
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms
What’s Lewis getting at?
He’s saying, we habitually praise. We praise the sunshine, we praise the sour dough, we praise our personal best time, we praise our holiday, we praise…
Followers of Jesus for millennia have gathered very regularly to sing and praise God together.
To the uninitiated, this can appear to be very strange behaviour. Who is this deity that they need constant praise? Anyone I know that needs constant praise, we reason, is deeply insecure and egotistical. Is that what God is like?
Thankfully, no that’s not the case. Then why does God call us praise Him?
This is what Lewis answers, “It is appointed consummation… the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”
Our delight in God is deepened, completed even, in the act of praising.
There’s so much more we could say on this, but this was just a little thought bubble.
We’re in a season, with Alpha, where we’re not gathering as a community to sing and praise God as regularly as usual.
But we need to be praising God. It is air and light and joy to our relationship with God.
How are you finding ways to praise God through this season? Are you reading a Psalm every day? Are you singing? Are you listening to worship music? Are you journalling your thanks?
Are you coming to the worship night on Tuesday night? Ok, that’s a cheeky plug but we’d love to see you there. It’s a wonderful opportunity to pull aside and be together before God, praising him.
See you there.