Today's Lectionary Text
On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews; and Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. Then the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. So Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell at his feet, weeping and pleading with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther, and Esther rose and stood before the king. She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have won his favor, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I have his approval, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews. You may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring; for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”
The king’s secretaries were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews and to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. He wrote letters in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed them with the king’s ring, and sent them by mounted couriers riding on fast steeds bred from the royal herd. By these letters the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, with their children and women, and to plunder their goods on a single day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of the writ was to be issued as a decree in every province and published to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take revenge on their enemies. So the couriers, mounted on their swift royal steeds, hurried out, urged by the king’s command. The decree was issued in the citadel of Susa.
Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, wearing royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine linen and purple, while the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.
Today we come to the story of Esther. Esther weeping at the feet of the king becomes a symbol for the Jews, she is powerless woman dependent on a powerful man. The Jews are a powerless people in exile dependent on a powerful government. Leading up to our passage of Scripture for today, Queen Esther has risked her life to stand before the king and expose the villain, Haman’s plan to kill the Jewish people.
Now, Queen Esther and Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, are in places of power. The Jews are still under threat. Unfortunately, since the original edict is irrevocable, the problem is not solved. In today’s Scripture, the king gives the responsibility to Esther and Mordecai to write a new command in the king’s name giving authority for Jewish people to defend themselves.
Esther calculated the cost and risked her life for the sake of her people. She risked her reputation, her status, and her life. She knew what it would take and she was willing to do it. For us, it is a story to name the way that God’s people were saved, to model the way of leadership Esther shows, and to inspire us to be aware of God’s providence.
As we lead today in our areas of influence, where are we willing to risk for the sake of the people we serve? Today, listen for God’s voice in people around us and rise up to speak on behalf of people all around us. In our communities, may we be people who see the world around us, stand up and take risks so that all may be saved.
Let us pray. O God who saves us, thank you for guiding us in life. Empower us to be your people. Throughout this day, guide us with your presence so that we can come to know you and follow you more closely than ever before and take risks for the sake of your kingdom. In Christ’s Name we pray, Amen.
-Rev. Nicole Conard
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color