February 22

Esther 14:1–6,12–14
Matthew 7:7–12
Psalm 138

Queen Esther, seized with deadly anxiety, fled to the Lord. …and she utterly humbled her body… (Esther 14:1,2)

I read Esther with new eyes this year.

We know something of women’s bodies being utterly humbled. This has been the year of #MeToo, used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

I have heard your own stories of disrespect and abuse. They break my heart.

It seems that we have indeed “turned against (God), and betrayed (God’s) trust, and we turned against one another.”

And we are only a few weeks out now from the overwhelming testimonies of strong young women who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar under the guise of “treatment” in the gymnastics world.

“Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart…” (Esther 14:13)

Esther knew the power of her amazing body and its amazing beauty. She understood what she was risking when she shrewdly used every resource at her hand to address her husband king. And she called on God.

With fear and trembling, with skill and clarity, with faith and chutzpah, Esther acted. And she saved the lives of her people.

God knew what God was doing when God chose Incarnation, enfleshment, humanity. God chose a powerful, vulnerable, risky form.

Maybe not so much has changed since Esther’s time and Jesus’ time. The people of God are still called to risk everything to save the people. With fear and trembling, skill and clarity, faith and chutzpah, we are called to act. We are called to risk everything in proclaiming the love of God in Christ Jesus. Wow.

Holy One, Grant me wisdom in discerning your call to me. Make me humble and bold and strong for your work, beautiful and shrewd and wise. I flee to you. Amen.
-Helen McPeak

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