Archive for the ‘Daniel 3’ Tag

Devotion for the First Sunday in Lent, Year B (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  The Four Men in the Fiery Furnace

Image in the Public Domain

Glorifying God

FEBRUARY 21, 2021

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Daniel 3:1, 4-28

2 Timothy 1:1-14

Mark 10:32-45

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These three readings testify that suffering is frequently part of a faithful life, and that the suffering faithful enjoy the presence of God.

The readings from Daniel 3 and 2 Timothy 1 speak for themselves, but the lesson from Mark 10 needs some unpacking.

James and John, sons of Zebedee, were also sons of Mary Salome, sister of St. Mary of Nazareth.  They were, therefore, first cousins of Jesus.  In an alternate version (Matthew 20:20-38) this story, Mary Salome made the request on their behalf.  At that point James and John had yet to grasp certain key points, such as the impending crucifixion of Jesus, which our Lord and Savior predicted more than once.  They sought glory; Jesus called for carrying one’s cross and following him.

The call to Christian discipleship is the call to follow Jesus, even through times of persecution and suffering.  God will glorify as God sees fit; we ought not to seek glory for ourselves.  No, we should glorify God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH AUGUSTUS SEISS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHARLES COFFIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRIEDRICH HERTZOG, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/glorifying-god-vi/

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Devotion for Thursday Before the Third Sunday in Lent, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Candle Flame and Reflection

Above:  Candle Flame and Reflection

Image in the Public Domain

Resisting the Darkness with Light

MARCH 21, 2019

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The Collect:

Eternal God, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world

through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son.

Help us to hear your word and obey it,

and bring your saving love to fruition in our lives,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 28

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The Assigned Readings:

Daniel 3:19-30

Psalm 63:1-8

Revelation 2:8-11

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O God, you are my God, I seek you,

my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,

and my mouth praises you with joyful lips

when I think of you on my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.

–Psalm 63:1-8, The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995)

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Psalm 63:1-8 is the happy pericope for this day.  The author praises God for divine, steadfast love and provisions.  The other readings encourage readers and listeners to trust in God during extremely trying times.  That is a positive and timeless message, but each of the other pericopes presents its own difficulties.

The story from Daniel 3 is ahistorical.  That fact presents no problem for me, for I am neither a fundamentalist nor an evangelical.  No, my difficulty with the account is that the monarch threatens anyone who blasphemes YHWH with death by dismemberment.  I oppose blasphemy, but temporal punishment for it is something I refuse to support.  Besides, one person’s religious expression is another person’s idea of blasphemy.  I know of cases of (Christian) religious expression in foreign (majority Muslim) countries leading to charges of blasphemy and sometimes even executions (martyrdoms).  Religious toleration is a virtue–one much of the Bible frowns upon severely.

The pericope from Revelation 2 comes from an intra-Jewish dispute.  Non-Christian Jews were making life very difficult for Christian Jews at Smyrna.  The Christian invective of “synagogue of Satan” (verse 9) is still difficult to digest, even with knowledge of the historical contexts.  Passages such as these have become fodder for nearly two millennia of Christian Anti-Semitism, one of the great sins of the Church.

As we who call ourselves follow Jesus, may we cling to him during all times–the good, the bad, and the in-between.  And may we eschew hatred, resentment, and violence toward those who oppose us.  Christ taught us to bless our persecutors, to fight hatred with love and darkness with light.  This is difficult, of course, but it is possible by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 18, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHN STONE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR TOZER RUSSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILDA OF WHITBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF JANE ELIZA(BETH) LEESON, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/resisting-the-darkness-with-light/

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Devotion for Monday and Tuesday After the Second Sunday of Easter, Year B (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Fiery Furnace

Above:  Fiery Furnace

Image in the Public Domain

God and Kosmos

APRIL 12 and 13, 2021

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The Collect:

Almighty God, with joy we celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection.

By the grace of Christ among us,

enable us to show the power of the resurrection in all that we say or do,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 32

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The Assigned Readings:

Daniel 3:1-30 (Monday)

Daniel 6:1-28 (Tuesday)

Psalm 135 (Both Days)

1 John 2:3-11 (Monday)

1 John 2:12-17 (Tuesday)

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O LORD, your Name is everlasting;

your renown, O LORD, endures from age to age.

–Psalm 135:13, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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The readings from Daniel 3 and 6 tell of faithful Jews in deadly peril due to their fidelity to God, who delivered them.  After each deliverance a violent monarch became the earthly protector of the faithful.  Details of how this worked are not the content of warm and fuzzy lessons for children’s Sunday School.

1 John 2:15 says:

Do not love the world or the things in the world.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

“The world” refers not to the created order but to the evil order in which faithful people face persecution.

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone.  Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.  In the world you face persecution.  But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

–John 16:31-33, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

The extraordinary context for that portion of the Johannine Gospel is that Jesus was about to die.  In the Gospel of John he said that immediately prior to his betrayal and crucifixion.  The worst which people did to him was terrible indeed, but God was more powerful, as the Resurrection revealed.

The call to reject the world which Christ has conquered is not a command to eschew all aspects of culture, popular and otherwise, many of which are beneficial and others of which are harmless.  No, it is a mandate to establish and stick to proper priorities; God must come first.  So may we recognize and respect the image of God within others and act accordingly.  May we reject the fear which leads people to harm each other instead of building each other up.

And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and attractive, whatever is excellent and admirable–fill your thoughts with these things.

–Philippians 4:8, The Revised English Bible (1989)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 17, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF MARIA STEWART, EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF EGLANTYNE JEBB, FOUNDER OF SAVE THE CHILDREN

THE FEAST OF FRANK MASON NORTH, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLYMPIAS, ORTHODOX DEACONESS

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/god-and-kosmos/

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Thirty-First Day of Lent   16 comments

Nebuchadnezzar II

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Daniel 3:14-20, 24-28 (Revised English Bible):

He [Nebuchannezzar] asked them,

Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready to prostrate yourselves as soon as you hear the sound of horn, pipe, zither, triangle, dulcimer, a full consort of music, and to worship the image that I have made, well and good.  But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the blazing furnace; and what god is there that can deliver you from my power?”  Their reply to the king was: “Your majesty, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If there is a god who is able to save us from the blazing furnace, it is our God whom we serve; he will deliver us from your majesty’s power.  But if not, be it known to your majesty that we shall neither serve your gods nor worship the gold image you have set up.

At this Nebuchadnezzar was furious with them, and his face became distorted with anger.  He ordered that the furnace should be heated to seven times its usual heat, and commanded some of the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and throw them into the blazing furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar, greatly agitated, sprang to his feet, saying to his courtiers,

Was it not three men whom we threw bound into the fire?

They answered,

Yes, certainly, your majesty.

He insisted,

Yet I can see four men walking about in the fire, free and unharmed; and the fourth looks like a god.

Nebuchadnezzar approached the furnace door and called,

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, servants of the Most High God, come out!

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego emerged from the fire, the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s courtiers gathered round them and saw how the fire had no power to harm their bodies.  The hair of their heads had not been singed, their trousers were untouched, and no smell of fire lingered about them.

Nebuchadnezzar declared:

Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego!  He has sent his angel to save his servants who, trusting in him, disobeyed the royal command; they were willing to submit themselves to the fire rather than to serve or worship any god other than their own God.

Canticle 13 (from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, page 90)

(Mostly a rewording of the Song of the Three Young Men, verses 29-34)

Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers;

you are worthy of praise; glory to you.

Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name;

we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you in the splendor of your temple;

on the throne of your majesty, gl0ry to you.

Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim;

we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you, beholding the depths;

in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.

Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;

we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

John 8:31-42 (Revised English Bible):

Turning to the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,

If you stand by my teaching, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

They replied,

We are Abraham’s descendants; we have never been in slavery to anyone.  What do you mean by saying, ‘You will become free.’?

Jesus said,

In very truth I tell you that everyone who commits sin is a slave.  The slave has no permanent standing in the household, but he son belongs to it forever.  If then the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.  I know that you are descended from Abraham, yet you are bent on killing me because my teaching makes no headway with you.  I tell what I have seen in my Father’s presence; you do what you have learned from my father.

They retorted,

Abraham is our father.

Jesus replied,

If you were Abraham’s children, you would do as Abraham did.  As it is, you are bent on killing me, because I have told you the truth, which I heard from God.  That is not how Abraham acted.  You are doing your own father’s work.

They said,

We are not illegitimate; God is our father, and God alone.

Jesus said to them,

If God were your father, you would love me, for God is the source of my being, and from him I come.  I have not come of my own accord; he sent me.

The Collect:

Almighty God our heavenly Father, renew in us the gifts of your mercy; increase our faith, strengthen our hope, enlighten our understanding, widen our charity, and make us ready to serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Freedom is an interior state and a gift of God.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego lived in a foreign empire.  They faced the possibility of dying in a gruesome manner unless they abandoned their religion and worshipped false deities.  Yet they were free men because of their faith.  And God was with them.

In the twentieth century courageous men and women ranging from Mohandas Gandhi  to Nelson Mandela to Freedom Riders and other civil rights activists went to prisons unjustly and experienced great humiliations.  Yet they were free on the inside, and no jailer, warden, prison guard, unjust law, or racist could take that away from them.  Accounts from the U.S. South in the 1960s mention jailed civil rights activists singing with great joy in hellholes called cells.  Gandhi’s influence only increased with imprisonment, as did that of Mandela, who, as a prisoner, negotiated the terms of his own release on equal terms with the President of the Republic of South Africa.

The faith of certain Jews in the proximity of Jesus was fleeting in John 8:31-42.  It was based in a misunderstanding of our Lord and his teachings, so it did not hold up in the context of Jesus himself.  The truth sets us free.  And what is the truth?  The truth is that which is reliable, according to The Anchor Bible Dictionary.  (Philosophical point:  Reliability and accuracy are not the same.  A misleading statement can be factually correct.)  Jesus liberates us from the power of sin.  If we remain enslaved to sin, we are responsible for this fact.

KRT

Written on March 9, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/freedom-in-god/