Day 368 | Monday, 22 March 2021
From the Church Mouse
“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful” - Psalm 149: 1 (NRSV)
Back in 1992 when I was teaching adult classes at Fredonia First UMC, I was partial to teaching materials from Church Alive from Abingdon Press. My students liked the lessons because they explained, in common language, a variety of “church words’ that were sometimes unclear to them. Today I will share with you Adoration (Praise) with the help of Rev. Dr. John C. Cooper.
The word adoration sounds rather old-fashioned to us today. It is seldom used except perhaps in romantic novels. The word praise is generally used in church circles to refer to worship. We offer God thanks and praise in our hymns, in the reading of psalms, in prayer, and in our offerings for the work of the church. Rarely do we use the word adoration unless we are reading or singing texts written in the distant past.
Adoration is from the Latin word adorare, meaning to worship. It describes the actions involved in worshiping God and to the homage done in the deepest reverence. To adore means to love deeply, to have the highest esteem, affection, and respect. Praise comes from the Latin pretium which means price. Originally, it meant to set a price on or to appraise.
The Old Testament uses the word praise 177 times, and the New Testament uses it 23 times. The Psalms account for the majority of the Old Testament usage. Praise is clearly a major issue in the Old Testament however the word adoration never occurs as the translation of any Hebrew word in the Old Testament. Praise is active, adoration may be passive. The Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, may prefer action.
In the New Testament, praise as an energetic, joyful, grateful series of actions, becomes the Christian’s response to God. This now makes sense to us in our day. The concept of response is vital. You can love and adore someone from a distance, in complete silence, without action. This is not what the Bible has in mind when it speaks of the mighty acts of a loving and gracious God. In the face of such pure grace only an active response of the whole person is appropriate.
Rather than a quiet love, we should think in terms of David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, the worshipers in the temple singing praises, and the disciples shouting and speaking so that people thought they were drunk. Our stress in all the work we do at Christ First UMC should show our joy, our gratitude and our adoration and praise….the active response of the whole person.