And I said to them: ‘Which of you hath any gold?’ and they took and brought it to me: and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out. (Ex 32:24)
Thence it leapt, out of the fiery furnace – not a triad of splendid youths clad in praises of the thrice-holy Deus Sabaoth, but an apparition of shining gold.
Thence it leapt, begotten of their baubles and fleshpots, come to summon them to a memoria of their rightful place in the world, their progress, their wisdom, their self-actualization, their love for that which they had been so inexpediently commanded to leave, by that Other who spoke of some hidden thing, higher than they…
Thence it leapt, onto their hand-fashioned altar, versus populum and grinning.
Let them that make them become like unto them (Psa 118:5)
abuchodonosor the king spoke to them, and said: “Is it true, O Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, that you do not worship my gods, nor adore the golden statue that I have set up? Now therefore if you be ready at what hour soever you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, harp, sackbut, and psaltery, and symphony, and of all kind of music, prostrate yourselves, and adore the statue which I have made. But if you do not adore, you shall be cast the same hour into the furnace of burning fire; and who is the God that shall deliver you out of my hand?”
Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago answered and said to king Nabuchodonosor:
“We have no occasion to answer thee concerning this matter. For behold our God, whom we worship, is able to save us from the furnace of burning fire, and to deliver us out of thy hands, O king. But if He will not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not worship thy gods, nor adore the golden statue which thou hast set up.”
Then was Nabuchodonosor filled with fury: and the countenance of his face was changed against Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it had been accustomed to be heated. And he commanded the strongest men that were in his army, to bind the feet of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and to cast them into the furnace of burning fire.
And immediately these men were bound and were cast into the furnace of burning fire, with their coats, and their caps, and their shoes, and their garments. For the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace was heated exceedingly. And the flame of the fire slew those men that had cast in Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago.
But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnace of burning fire. And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God and blessing the Lord.
Then Nabuchodonosor breaking forth, said:
“Blessed be the God of them, to wit, of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that believed in him: and they changed the king’s word, and delivered up their bodies that they might not serve, nor adore any god, except their own God. By me therefore this decree is made, that every people, tribe, and tongue, which shall speak blasphemy against the God of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, shall be destroyed, and their houses laid waste;
for there is no other God that can save in this manner.”
(Dan 3: 14-24, 95-96)