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Spiritual Short

In praise of praise

From the November 2015 issue of The Christian Science Journal


In its purest form, praising God is not an imposition or an artificial religious obligation, but a natural outcome of wonder and awe—a spontaneous expression of heartfelt gratitude and appreciation.

To many people in the world, however, enjoinders to “praise God” may seem badly timed or perhaps downright hypocritical. Public displays of religious belief can seem to contrast jarringly with what is happening in the world.

We need to be clear that true praise is not derived from fearful obsequiousness, nor from some attempt to placate a wrathful super-entity. God simply is not like that—a God to be feared. The Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that “God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love.” A couple of paragraphs later, she explains: “God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?” (p. 2).

So why praise God?

When we feel that a friend or a relative has stuck by us through major difficulties, or is just astoundingly beautiful or lovable, or when we have felt hugely uplifted by someone’s creative work, we don’t hold back the thanks, applause, and yes, praise.

This should be especially true in our recognition of divine Love’s immeasurable value in our lives. Love embraces us always, with infinite depths of comfort and joy. Consciously recognizing Love’s presence governing all refreshes and elevates thought, opening the way to greater spiritual understanding and growth. 

If we have ever felt too miserable, irritated, sick, worried, or busy to turn in heartfelt appreciation and praise to the all-knowing intelligence that never lets us down, we can wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to do so now, in our lives and in our thought. Praising God with understanding will bring healing. 

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