The Story of Esther



Picture courtesy of www.thewordsmithblog.com

The Jewish festival of Purim ends at tonight when the first 3 stars come out. So Esther’s story in case you missed the movie last night (at Compline). Here’s an abridged version I found:

When the current queen angers the king, he chucks her and picks a new wife from a selection of hot young women. Esther is the lucky girl and takes her cousin Mordecai’s advice and she hides the fact she's Jewish. When her cousin Mordecai angers Haman—the big bad of the story—Haman decides he's going kill every Jew in revenge. So Queen Esther spent three days in deep prayer. She also fasted. She called on her handmaids, and indeed all of Israel, to fast and pray with her. She was planning to go to the king unbidden, something strictly against protocol. If the king was displeased, it could result in her death. So Esther prayed. The King holds out his sceptre to her, accepting her visit and she invites him to dinner, throwing a huge banquet where she reveals she's Jewish and Haman wants her (and her people) dead. The king gets super pissed, now if this was a Disney version, he would drop the law and there’s your happy ending. But this is real life and he can’t take something back that has been written into law, so he gives Mordecai, Haman’s old job and together they fix it the best they can giving the Jews permission to defend themselves against extermination so for 2 days there’s pitched battles in the streets, the Jews win, Haman ends up dead, and we get Purim and triangle-shaped cookies.

Purim is a festival of opposites. In the story of Esther, we encounter good and evil, mourning and celebration, comedy and tragedy, true identity and disguise, a threat to life and an ultimate victory.

We live in a world of opposites. In all corners of the earth, we are surrounded by a landscape of violence and peace, hatred and love, wealth and poverty, abundance and hunger, equality and disparity. Let the Purim story remind you that opposite forces must come face-to-face with one another in order to effect change. If Vashti had not challenged Xerxes, the cycle of abuse would have continued. If Mordechai had not refused to bow to an idol and stood against Haman, the Jewish people would not have found freedom. If Esther had not had the faith to obey, the decree against her people would have remained fixed. And if we stand apart from misfortune and do nothing to counter the injustice taking place around us, we will continue to live in a world that is polarized and unjust.

Our country stood with its Muslim community in 2019 and embraced in love, refusing hate and fear. By confronting prejudice, we transform the world from one of suffering and loss to one of wholeness and celebration. One person can make a difference, when they don’t stay silent. Let God give you the heart and words to spread love in the world and embrace those around you who are hurting.