March 21

Daniel 3:14–20,24–28
John 8:31–42
Canticle [2] or 13

Today, as we read verses from the third chapter of Daniel, I am transported back to Sunday school when I was in the 5th grade. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the picture of four men surrounded by fire that headed the chapter which told the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I marveled at the strength of their faith and had lots of questions about how God helped them survive.

Years later, when my sons were about the same age, we learned the song written by Hugh Mitchell and sung by the Bill Gaither Trio.

Three good men lived very long ago,
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
To an idol they would never bow
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Into a fiery furnace they were therefore cast
Nebuchadnezzar thought they’d never last
But God was there He’d never let them go
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

I didn’t become an Episcopalian until I was in college, so the wonderful praise message of Canticle 13, Song of the Three Young Men, was new to me at that time and has become one of my favorite canticles. What a fitting response to being saved from that fiery furnace!

Stories and music have been and continue to be an important part of my faith formation. So, what do we do with these readings and how do we apply them to our daily lives? In the 8th chapter of John, Jesus tells the Jews who had believed in him that, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Dear God, help me to remain faithful to your word, to study and try to understand, and to praise you both with my words and my actions. Amen.
-Cathey Frederick