The First Sunday of Lent drives us into the desert to face stark questions: Who will you worship? Who will you serve? Will you bow to God or to idols? Elizabeth Scalia writes in StrangeGods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life: “… how convenient it is that the word idol begins with ‘i’.” She reflects on the Israelites’ worship of the golden calf: “The reflective gold gave them admiration of their strength and greatness, which they could confirm with their own eyes, mirrored back at them.” By peering into the looking glass, we can worship self. Since Adam and Eve, we have chosen self over the God who created, freed, and saved us.
Often unnoticed, unintentional, and even disguised as a good, we worship the “I.” We worship our freedom and declare, “I choose”; we worship our stomachs and claim, “I want”; we worship our rights and demand, “I deserve.” According to Scalia, we worship the “super-idol”—our ideas—and defend our ideologies, even until death. We worship ourselves and boldly assert, “I AM.”
Lent attempts to draw us out of self-adoration to the worship of the Living God. Resisting the temptation to worship anything—anyone—other than self requires humility, sacrifice, and surrender to the will of God. Again, Scalia: “Such surrender is the ultimate dis-enthrallment and the banisher of all idols, even the super idols.”
As parents/grandparents, we name grace by affirming that our children are deeply and infinitely loved, but NOT the center of the universe. We name grace as we model humility and resist the temptation to be right, first, or best. We name grace by humbly praying at home and bringing our children to the perfect worship of the Mass. We name grace as we teach our children God’s commandment: “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”
Some people spend their entire lives worshiping self and expecting others to bow to their ideas, choices, wishes, and desires. Yet, we can choose, time over time, to place God before self. When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, place our gifts at the altar, and bow to worship Him, we give God all honor, power, and glory. Though we revert to selfish, self-centered ways, we can trust Jesus to forgive us—if we but humbly surrender to His Lordship. Now, that’s good news!
Mary Pedersen, D.Min.
Photo by Gustavo Spindula on Unsplash
What will you teach your children about idols?
How does prayer help you fight idols?
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more about God's grace in everyday life or to connect with me, please contact: www.marypedersen.com.
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.