Saturday, April 25, 2009

Praise completes our enjoyment

Last week a friend asked me if I had seen the video clip of Susan Boyle singing on the show Britain’s Got Talent. When I admitted that I had not, he went on to tell me how great it was, that I’d love it, and that he would send me the link. A couple of days later I clicked on the link he had sent and watched the video for myself and just as he said loved it. Now granted, I was a little tipped off as to what was going to happen so the surprise wasn’t as great as it was for others who had seen the video, but I found myself filled with joy nonetheless. And of course what happened next was almost inevitable. I walked over to Matt’s office and said, “Hey Matt, have you seen that clip of Susan Boyle singing on that show Britain’s Got Talent? No? I’ll send you the link. It’s great. You’ll love it.” Joy experienced almost always turns into joy shared.

Think about it, when’s the last time you experienced something that brought you joy? Did you keep it to yourself? I’m guessing you didn’t. It is almost mandatory, isn’t it, that good things must be praised? If you go to a good restaurant, you almost feel compelled to tell others about it. If you hear a good joke, you can’t wait for an occasion to share it with someone else. Praise is simply a part of life. Even non-religious people are full of praise. Whether it’s about singers, sports, or fine scenery, people like to praise things.

Thinking on this very same truth, C.S. Lewis noted in his book Reflection on the Psalms, “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 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 are 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 perfect hearer died a year ago).”

Praise completes our enjoyment. What a wonderful way to put it. If this is the case with temporal things such as last night’s supper and Friday night’s ballgame, how much more so with the God of all creation. Our enjoyment of God is only completed, or better yet, our participation in God’s joy only reaches its appointed consummation when praise him for who he is and for what he’s done. So, when’s the last time you completed your enjoyment of God by praising him?

Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name – Psalm 30:4

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