And now we follow you
with our whole heart,
we fear you
and we seek your face.
Do not put us to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness
and great mercy.
Deliver us in accord with your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.
A portion of Azariah’s prayer in the fiery furnace. Note that the Scriptural tradition presents Azariah as a virtuous figure. He has chosen faithfulness to the Covenant at the risk of a painful and fiery death. If anyone deserves to chide the less firm with a not-me! statement, it would be this guy.
Previous verses detail Azariah’s use of first person plural: We have sinned and transgressed (Daniel 3:29ff). Just believers do not separate themselves from sinners. Every human being is in the same boat.
With lots of talk these days about abortion, same-sex relationships, we rarely hear confessions like Azariah’s: I missed an opportunity to help someone because they knew I would condemn them; I contributed to the problem by my indifference; and so on.
This Biblical figure has the heart of Lent: we’re all still in this together.