With all that is going on in the world, we at Pyoca have been pushed to reflect more upon who we are called to be as a community of faith when we cannot be together, which has led to weekly devotionals we will be sharing over the coming weeks.
This past week, I have been drawn to the story of Esther. Her story is short, just ten chapters, so I encourage you to take a look at it this week.
Esther is a Jewish woman who was taken into the household of the king of Babylon and forced to become his queen. While living in the palace, a plot arises from the king’s adviser to destroy all of the Jews. Esther is challenged by her cousin Mordecai to act on behalf of her community.
She is a woman who is called to help her community in crisis and learns how to use her own power to help others. I love Esther, because her story is one of a woman empowered to use her privilege, even when she was scared, in order to do the right thing.
As I read the words of the book of Esther this week I began to feel a strong sense of connection to this story in brand new ways. Esther is likely scared. Terrified of circumstances outside of her control. She hasn’t had to think much about others since she’s been crowned queen.
Throughout her time as queen she has hidden the fact that she is Jewish. Her cousin Mordecai warns her: your position as the queen is not what will save you. Know that you are called to act: to use your position as a means of speaking for your community and caring for them as they are on the brink. Now is not the time to shrink, but to be a voice for others, even when you’re scared.
Mordecai tells Esther: perhaps you have become royal for just a time as this. So, Esther gathers herself and her household, connects with her community outside the palace walls, and joins together in prayer and fasting. She realizes she is called to action, even in life or death, for the welfare of her community. She remembers that she is a small part of a much greater whole, and with the privileges she has she can make a difference.
Despite all of this craziness around us, I have had my faith in humanity restored this week. Whether you recognize it or not, you have been more of a follower of Jesus in this week than you’d ever imagine. Everyday you have not put yourself first. You have not thought of your needs first. Instead, you put the needs of everyone else ahead of your own.
Long have we been called to care for the orphan, the widow, and the sick, the least of these among us. Ya’ll we’re finally doing it!
For those of you who are doubting yourself, your capabilities, your students’ lack of attention, your ability to parent or be a good partner in this time, remember that everyone is doing their very best in the circumstances they have been given. Many people, like Esther, are putting themselves on the front lines of this crisis so that we can stay safe at home.
YOU can make a difference, just like Esther. We were made and called into a covenant relationship with God to care for our neighbor and those who are struggling around us.
Remember, the lesson of community care that we learn at camp has real and visible value in this world, particularly the world we are living in today. May you know that you are loved, you have value, and we will get through this together.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit be ever with you. Amen.
Rev. Molly DeWitt, Program Director