“Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.
For if you keep silence at such a time as this,
relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter,
but you and your father’s family will perish.
Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Esther 4:13b-14 (NRSV)
Eternal One, how long will we remain silent?
How long will we tolerate oppression, bigotry, violence, hatred, and contempt?
We wait, we watch, we work for the coming of your kingdom, O God.
But this world is so broken… it is so hard to kindle hope in the midst of so much hopelessness.
God of all comfort, we are outraged at the killing of seven month-old Marcos Miguel Colón and his parents Juan Alberto Pano Ramos and Alba Isabel Colón outside a convenience store in Pinotepa Nacional, Mexico.
Infinite God, comfort the families of the thirteen dead and 30 wounded, many critically, after three suicide bombings in Chibok, Nigeria. And, the families of the 219 young girls from the boarding school in the same community still missing after being abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.
Sovereign God, bring peace to those affected by the Taliban’s attack on the police headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan in which at least 20 were killed. Speak your words of calm into the growing terror threat in Europe which a recent Europol report says is the most severe in over a decade. And embrace those injured and grieving following a series of bombings in a suburb of Damascus, Syria which claimed at least 45 lives and injured over 100 more.
In the face of such overwhelming violence, how are we to respond? What can I do? What can I say? As a child of God how might I bear the hope, peace, joy and love of Advent as Lent rushes toward us?
Our Source and Our End, remind me, remind us, of your presence this day. Empower me to speak words of life and hope in the midst of death and despair. Empower us to work toward a community of wholeness and healing in the midst of fragmentation and disease.
Though the news swirls with death and destruction, mustard seeds of faith are being sown in new lives and new relationships. New businesses aim to bring sustainable, environmentally conscious products to market, and to help others achieve their full potential and overcome systemic oppression. Remind us again, O God, of the truth in the rabbinic teaching; we are not responsible for completing the perfection of the world, but we are not exempt from working toward it, either.
For we are here,
for such a time as this.
May we, if only in some small way, participate in your loving transformation of this world.