A recent Christian Science Bible Lesson made repeated reference to the word praise in the Responsive Reading, so it seemed worth investigating its definition a little further.
The word praise appears frequently in the Bible (close to 150 times in the King James Version) especially in the book of Psalms. Many references include commands such as “Sing praises to the Lord” (Psalms 9:11) or statements of intention: “For what you have done, I will always praise you” (Psalms 52:9, New International Version). The many references to “praise” made me want to understand more deeply what praise is and what it does for us, and provided me a way to distinguish between the material conception of God—which can act as a subtle influence on our thought—and the immortal or true understanding of the divine creator.
It occurred to me that when I thought of God as I thought of a human person, praising Him as I might a business associate, a friend, or a child, praise made little sense. After all, God doesn’t need my encouragement, approval, or recognition. I found that this sort of thinking stemmed from a vision of God, based on a human definition—seeing Him through a human lens. But Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes clear that what she calls the “divine Ego” is distinct from mortal conceptions. She says “The Ego is God Himself, the infinite Soul” (Unity of Good, p. 48). From a material standpoint I wouldn’t be able to understand God or how to praise Him.