By Katie Delp
Katie Delp, our Executive Director, recently preached on Esther’s response to Haman and what it can teach us. This is Part 3 in a series exploring Esther’s rooted response. You can start with Part 1 here.
Encountering people who want to stir up trouble, cause harm, or otherwise express the worst characteristics of Haman in our modern day lives is a challenge. I know I need God’s strength and wisdom in these hard situations, which is why this third installment of the series on Esther’s example of rooted response focuses on the need for healthy community.
When Esther hears Mordecai’s call to rise up on behalf of the Jewish people, she tells him to have all of the Jews fast with and for her. Similarly, she gathers her own household and servants to do the same. Esther had no intention of standing up for injustice and leading change alone. She gathered her people and instructed them to connect with God and prepare with her.
I absolutely love this. As an extrovert and highly outgoing personality, I’m definitely cheering Esther on at this point. I need my people. I can’t imagine doing the hard things we are called to do alone. Throughout the Bible, the story of God’s people is always in the context of a community of believers. One person may deliver the message, but there are always people of faith having their back.
Our work at FCS is built on a community of people. This fall FCS celebrates 40 years of work and ministry (and you’re invited!). I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization that is a powerful community of people who have been working together for decades to make change. No one has gone alone in this work.
But our culture loves a lone hero - they are easier to point to and understand. But we are selling ourselves short if we don’t look for those who are behind them. Rosa Parks didn’t make a decision to sit on the bus in Montgomery alone. She had been strategically selected by the NAACP because she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws. Like Esther, she was called for “such a time as this” and she had a force of community behind her.
Having a response rooted in community is also important because God has created each of us to have different roles in our response to injustice. Throughout the book of Esther, Mordecai never stopped protesting in front of the palace. He continued to call attention to Haman’s evil plans. While his actions may not have directly changed the king’s mind, they were definitely the catalyst for Esther and the Jewish community to gather to make change.
It takes all kinds of people - connected in community - to have a rooted response to the challenges that face us. This network allows us to walk into hard places together, knowing there are people of faith who have our backs. It is after this connection to community that Esther takes the bold step and approaches the king.