Monday, July 22, 2013

finding esther

i still have nearly 4 weeks until i need all the words to fall into place.

it's been 2 months since my pastor asked me to study and teach about 'the other E' as he called her.

during this time i've soaked in the story.  

before you speak it helps to be spoken to.  

i've had the luxury of time...time for her words to be written all over me before i start writing my own.

after 5 readings there are parts of those 10 old testament chapters that i practically know by heart.

the king loved esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight...

grace and favor can be awarded like a precious, unmerited medal.  

and sometimes they can land you in the position to win something far greater.
but the greater reward requires greater risk...and the possibility of sacrificing all that has already been given.  

would you trade a crown and a palace for the hope of something greater...knowing that in the end you could stand empty-handed?

i'm asking and answering these kinds of questions as i keep peeling back the layers of esther's life.  i can hardly wait to share all that i've found digging through the words of her story.

as much as i set out to find esther i have the sense of being found.  i'm feeling less like the one in pursuit and more like the one being pursued.  it's a scary, but beautiful place to find yourself.

just before i was asked to teach this message i booked a flight into port au prince.  my return date is three days before the message is scheduled.  i'm leaving room in my notes for the stories waiting for me along the dusty paths of haitian villages...a place where i have seen people trade their comfortable north american lives for something greater.

on my third reading of the book of esther i had an unsettled feeling blanket itself around me...heavy and dark.  i cried myself to sleep.  the tears felt foreign and i couldn't decide from whence they had come.  later that week, as i read ann's words, the same tears came rushing back, but this time with clarity.

the esther generation.  could i be swept right up into it?  i pray so.

i have been losing sleep over the prospect of this.

what happens when we let our lives be used for such a time as this?

and what happens if we don't?

is there a part of your life that you are willing to risk for something greater?

i keep reading and re-reading this account that was lived out thousands of years ago but was intended for me today.  and i'm convinced my charge is not to simply read it and then pull thoughts together to bend and shape, but read it that i might be bent and shaped myself. 

and so i breathe in and i breathe out, urging my spirit to be pliable.  praying the jar of clay that is my life has not dried out so much that it can't be pulled and stretched to make room for more inside.

as i'm bending and stretching i'm hoping the words will come together into something worth sharing on that sunday morning in august.  come join us in person or on podcast on august 18 to hear more about finding esther.  

and maybe, just maybe, we will find ourselves a part of this #esthergeneration that is rising up...unafraid of the risk.