Monday, April 28
Daily Office: Daniel 1:1-21 ¨ Psalm 1 ¨ 1 John 1:1-10 ¨ John 17, 1-11
So he . . . tested them . . . At the end of ten days it was seen that they were
better in appearance . . . than all the youths who ate the king's rich food.
— Daniel 1:1-21. *
The Chief’s Challenges
In the reading, churchgoers may recognize the three Jews who later land in the fiery furnace. Instead of focusing on those familiar characters again, let’s consider “the chief of the eunuchs” (“the chief”). The chief evolves. First, he must keep face with the king, literally! But later, he opens up to Daniel. The chief has wanted to look good, but the Spirit now inspires him to be good. The Spirit inspires him, in particular, to take a chance on “compassion.” The testimony of four Jews’ lives further nurtured the chief’s compassion: the Jews glowed with peace and joy as they ate mere “vegetables.” By contrast, the scene at despot Nebuchadnezzar’s table frightened the chief, despite the “rich food.”
• Will I think and live compassionately?
• Will I give my inspiration a chance?
• Do I rest in peace, contentment, and joy?
• Will I be genuine with at least one person, instead of a role-player with everyone?
By God’s Spirit, we live. Thus, we feel secure - even as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego felt secure in the fiery furnace or as the chief felt secure when risking decapitation. We are Easter people! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
- HyeHyun Sung
HyeHyun Sung has been the Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church since 2013. She is currently a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Houston.
* The more complete scriptural passage: Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. . . .Then the king commanded . . . his chief eunuch to bring some of the people of Israel . . . to serve in the king's palace . . . The king assigned them a daily portion of the rich food which the king ate, and of the wine which he drank . . . Among these were Daniel, Hanani'ah, Mish'a-el, and Azari'ah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshaz'zar, Hanani'ah he called Shadrach, Mish'a-el he called Meshach, and Azari'ah he called Abed'nego. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's rich food . . . therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs; and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear lest my lord the king, who appointed your food and your drink, should see that you were in poorer condition than the youths who are of your own age. So you would endanger my head with the king." Then Daniel said . . . "Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's rich food be observed by you . . ." So he . . . tested them . . . At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance . . . than all the youths who ate the king's rich food. Daniel 1:1-21.