Monday, November 27, 2006

Reflecting On Narcissus

Cindy Mercer Photography

“Why, beautiful being, do you shun me?” Narcissus asks. “The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckonings with the like.” He pleads: “Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you, if I may not touch you.”

Narcissus is in love for the first time, so says the Greek myth. What a catch he is. He is beautiful beyond words, and he knows it. Many a female admirer has met with his haughty condescension. Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, has had enough. She curses Narcissus with himself. The next time he stoops to admire his reflection in one of the mountain pools, he will never be able to tear himself away. He becomes so consumed with himself that he loses all thought of food or rest, and he pines away and dies. He literally admires himself to death. This is the bleak picture of Narcissism.

Christians look for a different reflection. In Psalm 95:1-7, the Psalmist writes,

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
[2] Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
[3] For the Lord is a great God,
And a great King above all gods,
[4] In whose hand are the depths of the earth;
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
[5] The sea is His, for it was He who made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
[6] Come, let us worship and bow down
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
[7] For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.

This Psalm tells us that our worship is response, response to God’s revelation of Himself as King, Creator, and Shepherd. As John Piper writes, “Worship is gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth.” C.S. Lewis reminds us that praise is “inner health made audible.” He continues, “Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

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