Song of Deliverance

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, our first reading tells us the captivating story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young men were enslaved Hebrews in Babylon. Their Hebrew names – Hanania, Mishael, and Azaria – had been changed to the Babylonian forms we find in the story.

Dan_Abednego

When coerced by King Nebuchadnezzar to worship a false God, these three faithful men refused. They were thrown into a roaring furnace as capital punishment. But a fourth figure appeared in their midst and saved them from death.

The story assures us that God delivers those who are faithful.

In our Gospel, Jesus reiterates this assurance:

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

On a personal level, many of us can attest to God’s faithfulness which has delivered us from any number and forms of crises. But the core point of our readings today, so close to Passiontide, is to remind us of that quintessential deliverance given us on Calvary. We now live in an eternal, inextinguishable freedom of grace and love.

It is fitting that we share the jubilant prayer offered by the delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
The Song of the Three Holy Youths – The Greek Orthodox Choir

The “Song of the Three Holy Youths” is part of the hymn called a canon sung during the Matins and other services in Orthodoxy. It can also be found in the Church of England Book of Common Prayer as the canticle called the Benedicite and is one of the traditional canticles that can follow the first scripture lesson in the Order of Morning Prayer. It is also an optional song for Matins in Lutheran liturgies, and either an abbreviated or full version of the Song is featured as the Old Testament Canticle in the Lauds liturgy for Sundays and Feasts in the Divine Office of the Catholic Church.

Also, can’t resist this classic, just for the beat!
Ford Leary Sings – From an old 1939 Vitaphone Jazz short “Larry Clinton & His Orchestra”