Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Slow Temptation (The First Sunday of Lent)

So hold fast, children of the Father, and look with eagerness and reverence towards the Resurrection of Christ Jesus. 

It only takes a moment to forget God. On one walk across the Quad in February when my feet scrunch the still frozen ground, I forget to bow my head as you walk and say, "Thank you." In one early morning class, I forget to be alive with His love, and I snap at my students, or I roll my eyes impatiently towards them. In one small moment, I deny who He is, what He has done - I am silent when a hard question rolls towards me or I choose to tell a loud story about how unfair He is, how difficult everything is. 

This is the slow temptation: that we forget God. That we wrap ourselves up in our lives, in our own questions, in our own loves and losses, and we forget Him. We might not even notice it happening. Just a few days without praying. Just a few weeks without Eucharist. Just a few moments of scoffing at Him, at His message, at His love for the world. 

But Lent is a moment when we turn our attention on temptation. We read about how Jesus was tempted in every way as we were, yet was without sin. And when Satan came to Jesus, and offered the kingdoms of the world, and challenged his power, and challenged his truthfulness - Jesus did not forget. 

His words echo in my heart this morning, as I realize how long I have been this week in the slow temptation of forgetting God. Satan said, "Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4.8-10)

In the moments when I am tempted to forget Him, to tell my story without His presence, to take credit for the blessings and push off blame for the failings. When I want to forget what He says and who He is, because I know it asks a lot of me? I remember that Jesus' words were simple. Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Do not serve the forgetfulness. Do not let the slow temptation overtake you. But hold fast, because the message we scoff at now is the message that brings us life. This Jesus of Nazareth, who calls fishermen, and heals the sick, who preaches the Kingdom and gives us living water - He does not forget us. 

This week, as we begin our pilgrimage towards Easter, may we remember God. May we reply to the slow temptation with Jesus' words - Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Pray with me, from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be
tempted of Satan; Make speed to help thy servants who are 
assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest
their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; 
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and 
reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for 
ever. Amen.



  1. How easy it is to forget Him. So thankful He does not forget us. Beautiful thoughts, Hilary. 

  2. Thank you, Amy - I hope this first Sunday is blessed and full of His grace. 

  3. Thank you for this. For the reminder to each moment remember Him. For the lovely prayer. For the simple joy that indeed, He does not forget us.

  4. You're welcome, dear friend. 

  5. How right and true your words are, Hilary. We too quickly forget His holiness, His pure grace through sacrifice. Thank you for reminding me to be diligent in seeking Him, to be sincere and intentional in living as Christ daily. God's glorious blessings this week in your daily happenings.

  6. Very convicting, Hilary. So easy to forget God in our own little worlds we've crafted, yes? Thanks for this.

  7. Thank you for the reminder to love, and cherish Him at all times, Kris. I love reading how He is at work in you. May He bless and keep you this week.

  8. Yes, Sarah - I feel that it is so easy to forget God when we're telling our stories. We always want to be in control. I pray we can continue to remember Him together!

  9. You have a great sense of writing I must say. Your post has those facts which are not accessible from anywhere else. I request you humbly please keep writing such remarkable articles.


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