Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday. – Esther 9:20-22b
I love Esther. Yes, Esther is the name of Megan’s and my first kitty-cat as a married couple, but we chose the name Esther because she is a great character in Scripture. Esther was the wife of Ahasuerus, King of Persian. The book of Esther goes through the drama of when Haman was seeking to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (which is to say, the vast majority of Jewish folk at that time in history). As Esther is Jewish herself, she was endangered too. But through Esther’s loving self-sacrifice, she endangered herself as she made her move, she was able to save her people.
In the Christian tradition, we see Jesus in the person of Esther. Through his loving self-sacrifice, Jesus saved Creation from destruction, much like how Esther saved her people from destruction. I am caught by the phrase, “the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday,” as it calls to my mind the switch that occurs in the Triduum (the time from Maundy Thursday into Easter Vigil). The Triduum moves from sorrow and mourning into gladness and holiday.
It is a gift in our tradition to see that our Savior, Jesus Christ, shows up in many places, notably in a woman who had extraordinary courage and bravery.
God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+