OK. Now to the (mostly) serious part.
Today’s readings are about holding fast, holding on, and hunkering down. Nebuchadnezaar (another great name) gives the three an ultimatum: bow down before the statue, or get the mother of all heat treatments. No two ways about it: bow, or furnace. Bow or furnace. What will it be?
The three answer, in effect: “This is a no-brainer, King N. Whether or not God will save us, we still won’t bow. It’s not a god, and it’s not our God, so no deal.”
Now think for a minute about the “even if” part. Even if God won’t save us, we won’t bow. Why? Because it’s not a god, and not OUR God. It’s Not What We Do, in other words. Strong, fast, unbendable. Think for a minute—what tenets of your life do you hold this strongly, this definitely, to the point to which they construct part of your very core of being? What beliefs and opinions make you indubitably who you are?
Another, more secular example: In the film Master and Commander, based on the Patrick O’Brian novels, one old, grizzled sailor clenches his fists together just a moment before their 18th-century era sailing warship is to sail into battle. We see, tattooed just below his knuckles: HOLD FAST. Hold fast. Hang on. Don’t let go. Of your rope, your faith in your fellow sailors, your duty, your belief in victory, the justness of your cause. Hold fast—to what you know to be right, to your faith, to your principles and your duty.
It’s hardly simple, of course, especially when you’re chucked into the furnace, when Babylonian kings are mad at you, or when cannonballs and splinters are whizzing about your head. Being a person of faith, of principle in the world is hardly ever simple, though; the essence of hanging on is to remember WHY you hold these principles/faith/cores of your being. Reflective faith is always better than blind faith; considered beliefs are stronger than tenuous assumptions. What you believe, understand why you believe it.
And then hold fast.
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