Doing What Is Right No Matter What
An overall arching theme of the Bible is balance between divine dependence and personal responsibility. In Chapter 4, I see it in Esther’s dilemma to help her people or to remain silent. She is scared and unsure not willing to trust the Lord. She does not want to upset her situation by doing something that could risk her place in the palace. In this chapter, Esther struggles with doing what she should and staying safe. I can relate with her not wanting to risk, but I also know that stepping out in faith and trusting the Lord are things each of us are called to. There times in each of our lives when we must say or do what’s right regardless of what it costs us.
I have found that when I respond in faith and do something risky that not only is my faith strengthened, but also my consciousness s stretched. It’ll look different in each of our lives. We are called to step out and live in faith by grace knowing that God is with and for us. This does not mean God is responsible for all the actions we take or that we shouldn’t take accountability for our actions. If we are rude, it is not God who did it. We were rude. We are going to have to face and deal with it. This goes with not just rudeness or some other bad habit, but also with the good we do. We did it.
We need to balance are personal responsibility with divine dependence. God gifted us with life and through Jesus gifts us with salvation and eternity. Yet sin is our problem not God’s that God deals with and does away with sin is a gift. We must still deal with the consequences; this doesn’t mean we will not suffer. No, we may suffer more. Yet, God will be there. God won us back in the cross of Christ and he is not going to let us go.
I am not sure which one I am strongest with; I have struggled with both. Someone recently commented on my ability to depend on God to admit that God is in control and not me. I have stumbled in both areas. That’s putting it lightly. I have fallen. I am not perfect and I freely admit this, but I suppose one could argue that is part of giving God his due. I would like to say I am getting stronger with both, but I do not know. I don’t know where I am and maybe I should look at this more and give a deeper answer. I know that whatever it is that I have much further to go. I trust that God will lead me where I need to go.
In this chapter, all sorts of physical acts happen that reinforce our character’s beliefs (visual mourning, sackcloth wearing, fasting). Physical acts are important. Our faith is not a private matter; it is private and communal, about us and others. Some find fasting, personal devotional time, bible study, and liturgy important practices that keeps one in touch with the Spirit of God. I find wearing a cross an important practice. It helps remind me of Jesus is and what he did and does. I also find carrying a bible and praying important to my faith. My faith is a journey, a way, a pilgrimage that I am on that I will continue throughout my life. I wear my faith, but I don’t push in other people’s faces. I don’t fast. Loving others and being respectful is about my faith. Following Jesus is not just a Sunday affair. It’s about the way, I live my life in the here-and-now.
The Jewish and palace “community” plays a major role in this chapter. The Jewish community can teach us most is solidarity and trust in the Lord. Too often church is just something that happens in a specific place on a specific day. Sunday and the lives of church members do not comingle during the week. For one day and a couple hours, life is lived how it should be the rest of the week, but often is not. If were to become more of lived community and held the light for others when they needed it and relied on others to show us the light when we needed it than our lives would be different and we would display the glory of God more and more. This would change the world. The church would be the subversive agent it is meant to be. I think I need to work on trusting my Church Community more and being more of a light bearer for others.
The Christian response to everything should be love, but we should get more involved in suffering. Christians should be more known as those that their hands dirty in caring, including, and serving others. Our faith should be more about loving all and serving the least. Too often, we are seen as overzealous freaks that shove our point of view at people. We are to be servants and not policemen. Mother Teresa and St. Francis should be role models in how we interact with others and respond to life. They didn’t go around beating people up with their faith, but used their faith to change the world. So can we.
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