This is being written on the Feast of Purim.
The Feast of Purim is a day that celebrates Esther; the Jewish woman who became a queen of a gentile king. She stood up to a king and saved her people.
Today is also the nearing of the end of Black History Month in America. Who comes to mind in the black community when you think of the heroism of Esther? Harriet Tubman? Sojourner Truth? There are many to draw from.
Stand up for what is right is always a value that we should embrace. When one considers the incredible odds of what it took for Esther to do what she did, it only increases the value of the conviction.
Jesus most likely celebrated the feast when he was on earth. John 5 reads that “there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” What happens next reflects the value of the conviction; Jesus finds someone who can’t stand up for himself.
When those of us who have opportunity and power do not use our opportunity and power to stand up for what is right, we are not people of conviction. Esther was a queen, not because she had aspirations of becoming one, but because she was thrust into a harem! Today we call that “sexual exploitation” or “human trafficking.”
Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth (her pseudonym) had delegated power when they learned to read, and then learned to lead. They were both enslaved persons, (not even considered a full human, by legal definition). They were breaking the law!
All three of them were women.
But they recognized that they had been given opportunity and power. Listen to Esther’s uncle told her, “for if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place; but you and your father’s house will perish…” (Esther 4:14a). Wow. He throws down the gauntlet! Then he encourages her, “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
So, let us recapitulate the situation: 1.through no plans of their own, these women were thrust into a situation – a horrific situation, 2. escaping seemed like a good idea, (self preservation), but the call to STAND UP was obvious 3. they had been give opportunity and power. 4. they took action.
Jesus says to a crippled man, “do you want to get well?” Kind of an insulting question, seeing as the man is hanging out where all kinds of people were essentially “lotterying” to get healed. The crippled man replied, “I have no one to help me.”
Jesus took a stand, on the day to celebrate a woman who took a stand, and he did so by helping the man get back on his feet.
The implications of this episode are overwhelming.
Today, irrespective of your situation, you can Stand Up for what is Right.