Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's Celebrate God's goodness

The Ladies Bible study I attend just finished studying the book of Esther.*

It tells the story of Purim, the celebration that commemorates when Esther and Mordecai helped to deliver their people, the Jews, from almost certain annihilation at the hands of evil Haman.

Esther and Mordecai decreed that Purim “should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendents.” Esther 9:28

I was struck by the contrast between that wonderful deliverance and the terrible persecution that the Jewish people have suffered throughout much of their history since. What amazing tenacity to go on celebrating Purim even when enduring almost constant persecution.

Can you imagine celebrating Purim during the Holocaust for instance? It must have felt impossible. But for those who were able to, it might have helped keep at least a flicker of hope and faith alive during that tragic time.

We Christians also need to remember and even celebrate the good things God has done for us.

It is so easy to forget and then lose hope when hard times come. Or to become proud when good things happen because we forget God and think we did it.

I suggested, and the ladies agreed, that next week at Bible study we take time to share with each other some of the ways that God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should make it a party!

*The book of Esther is sometimes referred to as the only book in the Bible that does not mention God. “Jewish philosophy and scriptural commentators believe that the reason for the omission of God's name is in order to emphasize the very point that God remained hidden throughout this series of events, but was nonetheless present and played a large role in the outcome of the story. Furthermore, this lesson can be taken into consideration on a much larger scale: Throughout Jewish history, and especially in the present Jewish diaspora, God's presence has been felt more at certain times than at others. Megillat Esther (and the omission of God's name in it) serves to show that although God may not be conspicuously present at times, He nevertheless plays (and has played) an important role in everyone's lives and in the future of the Jewish nation.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim
Read more about Purim at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim
And for an inspiring story of celebrating Purim despite persecution see: http://www.lchaimweekly.org/cgi-bin/calendar?holiday=purim1608

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon
This is Mom. It was very good. I enjoyed it.

Susanna said...

And the giving thanks party was inspiring. (-: God was glorified. Thanks Sharon.