We often look at what is around us without truly seeing. Only looking at the surface, we only recognize the goodness and beauty of what is around us, without diving deeper into the portals that God has given us that lead us to Him. But if we do dive deeper, we learn more about the attributes of God, allowing our finite minds to draw closer to His infinite one.
In Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C.S. Lewis argues the importance of adoration as a form of worship. In the book, C.S. Lewis argues that,
Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun. – CS. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
C.S. Lewis believes that adoration is a vital form of worship for our relationship with God because it allows us to truly see Him. Adoration is when our minds go further than surface level, which is when our minds see attributes of God in the world around us. Even though adoration is difficult to achieve and is not natural for us, we should practice it in order to understand more of God, which draws us closer to Him.
We often falsely believe that all we could learn about God is encompassed in the Bible, and there is no other way that our finite minds could further understand His infinite one. But like how an athlete would not be a good player if he merely read about the sport and did not practice, nor could we further understand God if we focused solely on the Bible and did not build off that foundation. We have the capability, and responsibility, to learn further about God by observing what He has given us. For example, think of a tree. One may think about the shade that it gives on a sunny day, the immense size of the tree, or the leaves that adorn it. One may think about how God has given us that tree, but what if we were to go a step further? What if we were to think of the qualities of the tree that exhibit God? The tree tells us that God is a purposeful God because of the various benefits the tree provides. It doesn’t just give us beauty, but it produces air, it gives us shade, and it houses animals. Like how a sunbeam goes “to the sun”, our minds should go to God. We should not merely look at the surface, but we should go deeper because that is where we will find God.
Now, do not believe that finding attributes of God in a tree means that you are loving God through the tree. We can not love God by loving the tree. We love the tree because it displays attributes of God. We love the tree in the first place because it is good and beautiful, which are attributes of Him. Adoration is when our minds wander back to God when we question what He must be like when we experience His blessings. Therefore, the tree is an asset in our spiritual lives. Finding attributes of God in the tree allows our minds to go to Him, allowing us to experience more of God. This enables us to further understand God, allowing us to be able to love Him more.
This sort of attention is not easily achievable; therefore, we must learn to walk before we can run. We must overcome the obstacles that inhibit adoration. First, we must overcome inattention with the right type of attention. We must start opening our eyes in order to take in the world around us. Although, we must not give attention to the wrong things or believe that we are seeing God in the things that do not show Him. We must only give our attention to the things that reveal Him.
What is the importance of this concept of adoration? Why must we go past surface level and look for God even in the simplest of things and the things we take for granted? Adoration is important because if we do not practice it, then “we…shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. At best, our faith and reason will tell us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have ‘tasted and seen.” In other words, as children we start by crawling, then we walk, and then we run. We must learn to give God adoration for what seems negligible and basic to us. The sunsets, the wind, the snow, and the flowers may all seem like minor blessings compared to His grace and love and the ways He delivers us from difficult circumstances, but adoring these simple blessings enable us to be able to give God adoration for the major blessings. Adoration enables us to recognize and praise God for the blessings He has given to us, both big and small, because they all reveal the heart of the Father who loves us. Additionally, if we step outside of our faith and reason and look for God in the world around us, then we will have seen Him. There are things in life that we simply cannot fully understand by only readings and teachings, but by experiencing firsthand. No one would fully understand the feeling of the wind if they did not go outside to feel a gust of wind, nor would we fully understand God if we did not experience Him firsthand in our lives. Looking for God in the world around us leads our minds back up to Him, which brings us closer to Him.
That cushiony moss, that coldness and sound and dancing light were no doubt very minor blessings compared with “the means of grace and the hope of glory.” But then they were manifest. So far as they were concerned, sight had replaced faith. They were not the hope of glory, they were an exposition of glory itself. – CS. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Our relationships with God are inhibited when we do not look past surface level. God is beckoning us to experience Him in the world He created and in our daily lives. But when we go past surface level, we find qualities of God, which allows us to experience Him. This grows our understatement of God, allowing us to draw closer to Him, and enables us to adore and worship Him in both the small and big moments of our lives.