Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Living with Lewis: Worship (a follow-up to beauty)

[Note: Read the "Living with Lewis: Beauty" post before reading this post]

There is a second part to this discussion of beauty, a reason that we appreciate beauty, one that again points us back to God and to the nature of love. Lewis writes:
"And now our principle of starting at the lowest- without which 'the highest does not stand'- begins to pay a dividend. It has revealed to me a deficiency in our previous classification of the loves into those of Need and those of Gift. There is a third element in love, no less important than these, which is foreshadowed by our Appreciative pleasures. This judgment that the object is very good, this attention (almost homage) offered to it as a kind of debt, this wish that it should be and should continue being what it is even if we were never to enjoy it, can go out not only to things but to persons, When it is offered to a woman we call it admiration; when to a man, hero-worship; when to God, worship simply" (16).
 Our love of beauty teaches us to worship. We learn to see things and pronounce them "very good." We admire, we praise, we feel a burden to extol something, to appreciate it because of its inherent greatness. This is worship. Worship is when we turn to God and declare him good. We speak of his overwhelming greatness, we praise his character, we admire what he has made, we seek the goodness in all that belongs to him. Worship is not something to be done at a particular time with a certain sort of music- it is to be an everyday practice. Look for the beauty around you, soak it in, declare its goodness. Then turn your praise to the One who made those beautiful things. With practice it's not a challenge at all. It becomes quite a bit like breathing.

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