The Worship Quote of the Week for (12/18/2001):

Tolkien on the "Glory of God"
In 1969, when J.R.R.Tolkien was seventy-seven years old and living in
retirement, he received a letter from his publisher’s daughter asking, "What
is the purpose of life?" Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is a short portion of his
rather lengthy reply.

. . . Those who believe in a personal God, Creator, do not think the Universe
is itself worshipful, though devoted study of it may be one of the ways of
honouring Him. And while as living creatures we are (in part) within it and
part of it, our ideas of God and ways of expressing them will be largely
derived from contemplating the world about us. (Though there is also
revelation both addressed to all men and to particular persons.)

So it may be said that the chief purpose of life, for any one of us, is to
increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we
have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. And to do as we say in the
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS: Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus
te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnumgloriam tuam. We praise you, we call
you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the
greatness of your spendour.

And in moments of exaltation we may call on all created things to join in our
chorus, speaking on their behalf, as is done in Psalm 148, and The Song of
the Three Children in Daniel II. PRAISE THE LORD . . . all mountains and
hills, all orchards and forests, all things that creep and birds on the wing.

This is much too long, and also much too short — on such a question.
With best wishes
J.R.R. Tolkien

—J.R.R. Tolkien, as quoted in TOLKIEN: MAN AND MYTH by Joseph Pearce.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998, p. 211-212. ISBN 0-89870-711-0 (HB)

[Read the books. Enjoy the movie.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky