If praise is, as C S Lewis proposed, the natural expression of one’s pleasure in an object (where expression of delight is necessary for the completion of delight), then the ease with which we praise earthly things is an indictment on our reticence, or imagined inability, to praise God in worship.
We express appreciation to one another, with relative ease, in many earthly contexts:
- sports fans over an athlete’s monster slam dunk, game-winning grand slam home run, or touchdown bomb;
- music aficionados over the driving beat or haunting melody of the latest release;
- investors about a great stock acquisition or windfall real estate profit;
- comedy buffs over that well-timed punch line;
- a crowd’s collective oohs and ahs at the city fireworks display.
Acknowledgment of an object’s excellence is more than mere academic assessment. Some critics might assess a work of art at the museum as follows: “The composition is good, subject matter inspiring, use of color apt, and attention to detail superior.” But that observer is much more impoverished in the face of excellence than the less well-heeled onlooker who, nudging the patron next to him, says “Wow! Dude, that’s awesome!”
Many professing Christians and habitual churchgoers can recite the technical specifications of the God we claim to worship (doctrine and theology), but one has to wonder whether delight is at all a customary component of it. Many regularly attend to the worship of God without ever having said to himself, much less to anyone else, “Wow! Dude, God is awesome!”