Praise: The Consummation of Joy

My understanding of the nature of worship was radically transformed by a fundamental truth I found in C.S. Lewis, who died 50 years ago this month. What Lewis helped me grasp is best explained by looking briefly at his own struggle with worship as he explained it in the essay titled, "A Word About Praising," in his short book, Reflections on the Psalms, pages 90–98 in my worn, 1958 edition.

In a word, Lewis enabled me to recognize that not only was it permissible to enjoy God in worship, it was absolutely essential if I was truly to honor him. He said it in this one profound statement: "I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation." But there is a lot that leads up to this statement.

God's Deep God-Centeredness

As a young man, Lewis was more than a little agitated by the persistent demand, especially in the Psalms, that we all "praise God." What made it even worse is that God himself called for praise of God himself. This was almost more than Lewis could stomach. What kind of "God" is he who incessantly demands that his people tell him how great he is? Lewis was threatened with a picture of God in which he appeared as little better than a vain woman demanding compliments. Thanking God for his gifts was one thing, but this "perpetual eulogy" was more than Lewis could stomach.

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]