CROSSWORD PUZZLE QUESTION: Six letters : the 17th book in the Bible, starts with an “E…” Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t know it immediately …. it is a short book of only 10 chapters... The book of ESTHER!! WHO??? Queen Esther (who hid the fact that she was Jewish) was married to a Persian king in approximately 479 BC. When she discovered that Haman, the king’s advisor, was plotting to exterminate all the Jews, she risked her life by approaching her husband to plead for his protection, and consequently saved her people!
Quite the courageous woman…
Moral of the story?
Always do the right thing
Use your God-given gifts to help others
Exert your influence to make a difference.
We often sing the hymn TAKE MY GIFTS (click here to listen) penned by New Zealander Shirley Irena Murray. It might well be considered a prayer-response to the above…
“Take my gifts and let me love you, God who first of all loved me
Gave me light and food and shelter, gave me life and set me free;
Now because your love has touched me I have love to give away,
Now the bread of love is rising, loaves of love to multiply!“
Shirley was a dynamic person who used her own gifts of hymn writing to influence the world by providing sermons in song. Though she was particularly committed to writing for her own country’s culture — as in writing her “Upside Down Christmas Carol“ in which she talked of celebrating in the warmth and sunshine of a New Zealand summer — she was also committed to responding to the more challenging questions and issues of her people.
Her hymns and carols (10 of which appear in our own CHALICE HYMNAL) address a wide spectrum of themes ranging from justice to care of creation, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ issues and above all — PEACE — in all its manifestations.
“…There is so much to understand and embrace in the wisdom, the spiritual treasury and
survival skills that Jesus has given the world . Creating justice and joy means walking into the territory of human rights — as Jesus did…“ God bless Esther — God bless Shirley — each of them a ROLE MODEL in her own time — one ancient, one modern — who exerted themselves on behalf of others… AND, dear God — please bless us as we each work to respond to the call to share OUR OWN GIFTS in our lifetime.
How is God nudging YOU to use yours???