Naming the idols

A Lenten devotion for the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, based on Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.”

Naming the idols

Some are easy to spot, sporting colourful plumage;
they make fast promises they cannot keep.

Others clothe themselves with humility,
always doing good,
sheep in sheep’s clothing,
seducing the innocent with promises of righteousness.

The nameless ones are dangerous,
inserting themselves into side thoughts
by sleight of spirit.

But the Lord is jealous for your hunger,
appealing to your thirst with names like
mercy, repentance, forgiveness, life;
recalling the parts of your spirit 
borrowed by idols, 
redeeming and restoring that 
which was Lent.

(This is the time of Lent when “new year resolution syndrome” sets in for me. It threatens to divert my attention onto self-imposed restrictions and tempt me to quantify my spiritual success through them, instead of reinforcing the reality that all of my pious practices count for nothing if the process, the journey becomes more important than the Companion: Jesus, in the way of the cross. Please pray for me, a sinner.)

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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