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Misapprehensions about the praise of God

by
06 February 2015

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From the Very Revd Christopher Campling
Sir, - Simon Parke (Comment, 30 January) does not seem to understand the nature of "praising God". Christians do not praise God to flatter, but to affirm and, therefore, respond to and enjoy God's glory, goodness, and creative and redemptive love.

C. S. Lewis put this better than I can in his book Reflections on the Psalms (which are full of the injunction to "praise the Lord"). "We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. . . 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."

And again: "The Scottish catechism says that man's chief end is 'to glorify God and enjoy him for ever'. . . . Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him."

CHRISTOPHER CAMPLING
Pebble Ridge, Aglaia Road
Worthing
West Sussex BN11 5SW


From the Revd Michael Champneys
Sir, - In his column "Exhausting affirmation", Simon Parke asks whether God wants to be praised. "Generally," he writes, "I do not wish to be praised, and, if I do I am having a weaker moment, when my ego needs bolstering a little. But I struggle to link this need to God."

So did Augustus Hare - a far less modest man than Mr Parke. When asked by Somerset Maugham why he had inked out many lines in the Prayer Book that he used for family prayers, he replied: "I've crossed out all the passages in glorification of God. God is certainly a gentleman and no gentleman cares to be praised to his face. It is tactless, impertinent and vulgar. I think all that fulsome adulation must be highly offensive to him."

If not actually a gentleman, God cannot be less than a gentleman.

MICHAEL CHAMPNEYS
1 New Road, Holymoorside
Chesterfield
Derbyshire S42 7EW

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