As we wake to greet a new spring dawn, we are reminded again of the way that all of nature turns at this time of year to welcome the warmth of the sun and flowers with new life. We recognize the nearness of God in the beauty of this season. And so, once again, we open the day by seeking to turn our own lives toward the warmth and the light of the divine. Let us pause to listen to the scripture reading for today, inviting us to turn toward the one who is always near, the one accompanies us—in good times, yes—but, even in times of great trial.
A Reading from the book of Daniel
King Nebuchadnezzar said: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up?... He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.
Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered.
"But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God." Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God."
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
In response to the scripture, let us take a moment to ponder in silence our own response to the invitation to turn toward the one who accompanies us at all times.
- Where in your life and in the life of your organization do you experience the greatest trial? (pause for reflection)
- In the reading, God does not prevent the men from being thrown into the fire, but rather accompanies them in the midst of the fire. What would it mean to turn toward God as a companion in these times? When have you known God to stand in the fire with you? What would it mean for God to accompany you and your organization in the fire now? (pause for reflection)
O God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the flames of trial, you accompanied your faithful servants and did not abandon them. With their eyes fixed on you, they were able to enter into the fires of Nebuchadnezzar unafraid and confident. As we look long and hard at our organizational life again today, give us that same kind of confidence and courage. Draw near and walk with us, keeping us faithful to your call. O Lord, hear us as we pray:
Turn our eyes toward you.