So, today our lovely post person, Wendy, delivered a small parcel containing the new issue of Quiet Spaces from BRF. There is still time to order your copy here.
My contribution is on the Book of Esther, which seems appropriate in our rather turbulent political climate, when many feel powerless. Below is an extract from this edition, one of the more studious ones, which invites us to consider power and its uses. We are reminded that God has a special regard for those who are powerless.
The Golden Sceptre
Power is an inescapable theme of Esther – yet however absolute it seems, it has cracks. The extent of this nation’s power, stretched from India to Ethiopia, is laid out in the first sentence, and the first chapter is a study in egotistic powerplay. The nobles and subjects are simply audience, and woman’s beauty is degraded in this sordid charade. What matters is that the various appetites of the king are sated, and that all dance to his tune.
The Bible is a most unusual book in that it is a collection of stories from the bottom. It is the perspective of slaves, invaded peoples, younger sons, and the defeated. Even in its brief glory under David and Solomon, Israel was not a mighty nation like this. The New Testament, too, gives us the perspective of the excluded and marginalised. Jesus is a servant king, so different from Xerxes (NIV).
It is easy to forget this, as we look back at history through the lens of a powerful Christendom, with a powerful church. It is easy to forget that God calls us to be a people under God’s shepherding, and that Jesus knelt at his followers feet.
Consider some of the passages below, reflecting on any situations where you may be in a position of power – even in something as everyday as buying things.
Hebrews 8:10, 10:16
1 Samuel 8-9 (esp 8 v6-9)
Are there ways you can honour and serve people in positions society may regard as inferior today? Can you bless people you normally overlook?
You could make some “Thank you” or “Bless you” cards to give to people you encounter.
Wendy also brought a letter from Otley Hall containing some of the lovely feedback from last Wednesday’s Quiet Day. Thank you to all who came – it was very special to share the day with you. Thank you all so much.
I hope you had a good Easter.