This Week's Reflection

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This Week's Reflection

The Christian faith shares scripture with the Jewish faith and one story we share is the story of Queen Esther. The book in the bible that is named tells Esther’s story and is named after her is the only book in the bible that does not mention God, but it is full of God.

Esther lived in the reign of King Ahasurerus, who ruled a vast area of lands stretching from India to Ethiopia. The book of Esther gives an insight into the violence and control of life in ancient times and starts with the King disowning one of his wives because she will not come to him when commanded. In her place Esther become Queen, and the story goes on to tell how the Jewish people, who are under the rule of King Ahasurerus, are threatened with destruction on the command of the king’s most powerful servant, Haman. The king is unaware of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jewish people and the story tells how Esther’s cousin Mordecai works to over throw the plot of Haman. Mordecai uses his relationship with Esther to ask her to use her influence on the king and make him aware of the threat Haman is to the Jewish people.

Esther is, understandably, scared and reluctant to do as Mordecai asks because she knows that the king will get rid of a wife if he does not think she is obedient to him. However, Mordecai knows that Esther is their only hope, and he also know that she is up to the job, so he says to her words that I think ring true for people throughout the ages: “perhaps this is what you need to do, perhaps you are here for this time.” Esther was made for her time, even though she wished she were not. Realising the truth of his words, Esther uses all her guile and arranges a banquet where she breaks the news to the king that Haman has been plotting to destroy her people. Esther succeeds in her task and the people are saved, and her success is celebrated by Jews across the world every year in the festival of Purim.

The story of Esther not least teaches us to live in our time and be prepared to do what we need to do. Not to find others to blame. Not to give in and give up but act. Esther could have sat and wept for times gone. But she didn’t. Esther could have said I can’t change things. But she didn’t. It seems to me that Esther realises what she has to do and what it is she has to do it. She changes things. She believes she is capable of change and she changes things. That is a challenge for us in our time and place. That’s why this story is full of God, because it talks about Esther doing what she needed to do so that God’s people were not destroyed.

This is a message for harvest this year. Harvest is about creation. Traditionally it’s about giving thanks for creation and God’s good gifts to us. It’s a time to focus on creation and our reliance on it and our relationship with it. But creation is groaning and we are living in a rapidly changing world. The story of Esther challenges us to think about the changes we need to make to give our world the help it needs. Esther discovered what needed to be done and then what she could do. She discovered she was stronger than she thought.

What do we need to do? What strength do we have? What changes can we make to care better for God’s good earth?

Blessings to you as you live in this time and place.

Rev Anne Sardeson.