The opening chapter of a hand-written scroll of the Book of Esther, with reader's pointer; image by @Chefallen on Wikipedia
Queen Esther rocks the scripture reading today! I love the stories about women in the scripture, and Esther’s is action-packed.
So here’s a quick look at the story. Esther goes, uninvited, to the Persian king and asks him to remedy an earlier decision he made that brought much suffering to her people. The king had given authority to Haman, an official who uses his position to take revenge on Esther’s people. But in the end, Esther prevails and she saves her people.
First of all, going uninvited to the king could have resulted in her death. And then to ask for something so bold—again, very risky. But she does these things anyway…and manages to keep her life.
Along the way she also takes another bold action. She prays to God for what seems like an impossible thing in the midst of suffering: she asks God to turn the people’s mourning into gladness and their sorrows into wholeness. Esther’s prayer reflects a sense that God is with us on the path of transformation, bringing mourning and gladness, sorrows and wholeness, to full circle within us and our world.
As I consider this story, I am thankful for the many “Esthers” who’ve graced our world. They are women who took bold steps on behalf of others, even at great personal risk. They are women who believed in the God of transformation.
So in the spirit of our scripture reading today, I give thanks to some of the Esthers who’ve deeply impressed me with their boldness and faith, among them Saint Teresa of Avila, Dorothy Day, writer Tillie Olsen, my grandmothers, and many, many more.
Who are some of the Esthers you give thanks for today?