Apr 13, 2011 - Wednesday Meditation (Hold Fast!) Reflective faith is always better than blind faith; considered beliefs are stronger than tenuous assumptions. What you believe, understand why you believe it. 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? Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 John 8:31-42 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." 39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. 41 You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Meditation (Creighton) First: Aren’t the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego terrific? Makes you want to go get 3 cats just so you could give them these names. 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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