Have you ever heard that the purpose of being alive is to glorify God?
That we exist for the sake of offering praise to God?
And have you ever wondered whether that makes God an egotistical, narcissistic deity?
But recently I learned (from Gregory Boyle’s book The Whole Language) that the Hebrew word for praise (tehilla) “primarily means ‘to radiate’ or ‘to reflect.’“
If we are indeed created “in the image” of God, then we become most fully ourselves, we fulfill our purpose, when we reflect that image. To praise God is to reflect who God is.
Taking this a step further, I encountered Mary’s song of praise to God after Elizabeth affirms that she is carrying God’s child in her womb. Mary sings that her soul “magnifies” the Lord. This word made me think about how magnifying glasses work. They make small things bigger and clearer.
As Mary fulfills her purpose, as Mary says yes to God’s work in her life, her soul makes God’s love, God’s truth, God’s beauty bigger and clearer. She praises God as she reflects God’s love to the world around her.
So there it is. To praise God is to reflect who God is. Every act of love is an expression of praise to God.
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