A few weeks ago in our Sacrament Meeting, we sang 4 hymns composed by Eliza R. Snow, in honor of the 200th anniversary of her birth. One line from one of those hymns has been on my mind since then. It’s from this verse:
He lives! He lives! We humbly now
Around these sacred symbols bow,
And seek as Saints of latter days
To do His will and live His praise.
We talk a lot about how to discern and do the Lord’s will, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about how to “live His praise,” and I wonder what that might mean.
I would think, at a minimum, that it would mean doing His will, following the commandments as well as we possibly can, but there’s also an element of joy, even exuberance, in the word “praise” that I think is often missing from discussions of Saintly living. In fact, we don’t really praise much at all–even when we gloss the Lord’s Prayer, we turn “hallowed be Thy name” into a pattern for the expression of gratitude. Gratitude is subtly different than praise, and carries (to me, at least) more of the force of what one ought to do, what is owed to God. Praise suggests an abundance of delight in the Lord’s creation and sustaining power, a spontaneous overflow of love for God. It strikes me that many Mormons (myself included) are more comfortable with the prosaic duties to do God’s will and be grateful than with the poetic wildness of praise.
So, Saints, what do you think it might mean to “live His praise”?