Thursday, October 31, 2013

Laus Deo

Latin for "praise God." Poses a dilemma for me. How do I praise what I am so uncertain about? Not that "It" doesn't exist in some form or other, just that "It" goes so far beyond my understanding. What do I make of this suggestion? How do I go about praising God?

Admitting to pure speculation, what other way than expressing my appreciation for the life I live and the world around me?  I always fall back on experience to guide me. As such, what is it that I want, need or feel, when someone "praises" me? What I feel is: 1) support 2) validation 3) appreciation 4) concern 5) warmth 6) a "connection."

And it is # 6 that seems operative in this particular case. When I "laus Deo," I am establishing a connection with Life itself. And as I've expressed elsewhere, Life and God are synonymous for me. Where else and how else am I to experience God if not through living? Be-ing? If that is the case (which it most certainly is for me) then how I would "praise God" would be through my thought, word and deeds. Do they reflect what I aspire to? What I want "me" to be?

Example: Do you wish to be a friend, partner or spouse that is honest? Trusted? Reliable? I think all would say as much. If we step away from those qualities and act in a fashion that contradicts them, what do we feel? How do we act? If our self-image is at odds with our actions, discord follows. We wrestle with reality. (Life) We exert tremendous effort supporting a perception that is at odds with what we think, say and do. And down deep we know it.

So, in the end, my ability to praise God seems to be how well I am able to authentically express myself. A validation of sorts comes from the Greek definition for the word sin (hamartia) used in the New Testament: "to miss the mark." (target) In Hebrew sin (chatta'ah) is to "miss the way." (although there are other variations with different meanings; pesha, avon, etc.) When we are less than we can be, less than we had hoped for, we have missed the mark. Conversely, when we manifest who we truly are and what we long to be, we have "hit the bulls-eye." For some reason, that's all the praise I think the Creator needs.

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