Three Men in the Fiery Furnace, Sam McGee and Jesus

 

A reading for Easter Tuesday is Daniel 3:8-28, The three men Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace.  The story reminds me of Robert Service’s poem The Cremation of Sam McGee. Sam, from Tennessee, joined the Alaskan the goldrush, but froze to death along the trail.  His partner honored his last request to be cremated and not left in the frozen state,

“And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;

And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.

It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—

Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

 

The connection between the three men and Sam McGee ends in my mind.  But how are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego connected to Jesus’ resurrection?   I think it has to do with loyalty to God and a willingness to through a horrible death rather than abandon God.  There is an angel present in each account.  The angel keeps the three men safe so they come through the ordeal unsinged.  The angel at Jesus’ resurrection from death announces his resurrection to some amazed women when they come to the tomb.  Nebuchadnezzar was also astonished when he looked in the furnace and blessed the God of the three Jews who were willing to offer up their bodies rather than serve anyone but their own God.  So, it was with the Jew from Nazareth named Jesus.  The three men may have come out unsinged, but Jesus did not.  He was scarred.  He bore his ordeal and carried his scars for the life, salvation and forgiveness of sins for all, even Nebuchadnezzar and Sam McGee from Tennessee

 

 

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