If you are able, go ahead and stand up as you prepare to read today’s scripture passage found on the “Listen” page. If you would like, take your shoes off so you can feel the ground beneath you. Go ahead, really… stand up.

Take a moment to feel the ground underneath your feet. Press down all ten of your toes. Become aware of what the ground feels like. Is it rough? Is it soft and welcoming? Turn your awareness to the earth supporting you as you stand, feeling the strength in your feet.

Now before you go on, take three deep, strong breaths as you stand tall, ready to experience God’s Word today.

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In a violent rage Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were brought before the king.

Nebuchadnezzar said to them: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I’ve set up? If you are now ready to do so, bow down and worship the gold statue I’ve made when you hear the sound of horn, pipe, zither, lyre, harp, flute, and every kind of instrument. But if you won’t worship it, you will be thrown straight into the furnace of flaming fire. Then what god will rescue you from my power?”

Daniel 3:13-15

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So, how shall we stand firm in the face of violence? Here we see King Nebuchadnezzar in “a violent rage.” It would be so easy for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to either respond by cowering in fear and ultimately obeying the King’s command to bow down to the statue or to puff up their chests, to return the violence and fight back in rage. But neither of these responses would honor God. So how then shall we respond to violence and hate?

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” (in Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?, 1967).

At times our world seems like a “night devoid of stars.”

We need not respond with fear. May we rather be a people filled with light, a people of love.

Sara Hunt-Felke

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God of light and God of love, give me patience and strength, that when I am face-to-face with violence or anger, I might not match it with more violence and hatred. Would you help me be a star even on the darkest night? Amen.

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Today, may you stand firm.

Stand firmly aware that the God who walked in the flames with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the same God who walks this road with you.

May you stand firm on the foundation built for you by the God who loves you fiercely.

Sara Hunt

Sara Hunt-Felke lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband TJ, their daughter Adelina and their dog “Monk.” Sara is a Hospital Chaplain and in her free time enjoys a good cup of coffee, baking, and spending time outside in God’s creation

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

Jon Chacko

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