Fiery Furnace 3: Conclusion

Here’s another connection between the fiery furnace (Daniel 3) and Ash Wednesday.

Today, Ash Wednesday, we hear we will die.  Actually we are told to remember that we are dust and to dust we will return (God’s words in Genesis 3).  When Shadrach, Meshah and Abednego were thrown into the furnace they knew they were as good as dead dust.  Except for this: into the death dealing fire comes the holy life-giving presence.

And here comes the resurrection hope, the reason this story is in the Easter Vigil.  Into the deadest and dustiest places of our lives, a savior Jesus comes to give us life.  Jesus went, not into the fiery furnace, but into the terror of crucifixion, so that he might unbind us and give us life.  When our hopes have died, he comes with life-giving promise. He is not finished yet.  Into our dustiest failures, he comes bringing new strength that can withstand the heat and help us breath.  Into our lives bound up with grief or disappointment or fear, he sets us free to walk through the hard times.

Are we feeling like parts of our world are about to turn to dust?  Don’t stop trusting, don’t stop believing. Instead pray today with other people who follow Christ, people with dusty, repentant hearts that have encountered rough times this past year, but who have an incredible hope:  Christ is our life in the midst of our death!. 

Lord, bring life into the ways we fail you.
Bring trust into the places we fear you.
Help us treasure you and your sustaining love  more than anything else in the world.