Thursday, September 29, 2011
Through Bleary Eyes - Esther: The . . . End
It’s amazing, isn’t it, how things can look so hopeless one day, only to change drastically the next? The story—the facts—of Esther’s courage and influence on a powerful king are recorded for all to see in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia. And if you read about how powerful and mighty King Xerxes really was, you’ll have even more respect for Esther and Mordecai and the risks they took when they confronted evil at its core.
The King’s rule of his country was strong and typical: he taxed them just like all governments do, but showed more common sense than many.
As for Mordecai, what can I say? He was a Jew, exiled from his homeland, hated, hunted and placed on a hit list by a powerful madman, rescued at the last minute in a twist of “fate”, and elevated to the second highest position in the country of his exile. He never let this honor go to his head but, instead, used it for the good of his people. They loved him for it. He was a crowd favorite to the end because he always put others first. It seems to me that the book of Esther should have been named instead for her Uncle Cousin Mordecai. But I have a hunch he wouldn’t have liked that. Truly great people never seek the limelight—it just finds them.
Mordecai’s legacy was the courage and integrity he showed at the lowest moment of his life. When he had no logical reason to believe he and his fellow Jews would be rescued, he believed it anyway. He never bowed in worship to anyone but the One True God, even when it put his life in jeopardy. He did everything he could, at the right time and in the right way, to prevent the triumph of evil and to protect and save his innocent countrymen. He did not run. He did not hide. He stood his ground.
Maybe the way this story ends is only amazing to us. Mordecai knew Who gave him his strength. Who gave him his wisdom. And Who had his back.
I’ve taken a few liberties in the retelling of this story. The names have not been changed because the innocent have nothing to be ashamed of and the guilty don’t need protection. But the dates were converted according to our current Gregorian calendar in a way that I found convenient. Call it author's prerogative. Still, to clarify, Purim is usually celebrated in March. And Starbucks wasn’t the beverage of choice in ancient Persia. But it should have been. I used a few other terms that aren’t very Biblical sounding, but the essence and facts of the story are true to the Book of Esther. I think she’d agree. And I think she’d echo the words my sister often says to me when I let her look into the inner sanctum of my sense of humor: “You ain’t right.”