Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Such a Time
- For you, what is the current “it” to complete Frodo’s sentence, “I wish it need not have happened in my time”? What is the “it” that you hear others lamenting?
- When you consider the story of Esther, what source(s) of courage do you believe motivated her to approach the king? What are your sources of courage?
- How does your faith community raise its voice against oppression? How is your community raising its voice against oppression?
“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 4:14 (NRSV)
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
Perhaps you are daunted by the complexity of the issues facing us at the moment. Perhaps you wonder how you, one person, can make a difference. Perhaps you feel constrained by personal or political circumstances that seem to make it impossible for you to speak up or act out. Perhaps you are frightened, or weary, or despairing. Perhaps you are here for such a time as this anyway.
Esther was one of the king’s wives, but the law forbade her from speaking to him. Raising her voice against the oppression of her people should have been dangerous. But her uncle both challenged and encouraged her with the words from today’s scripture. Perhaps you are who you are and where you are for such a time as this, he said.
Do you hear his voice? It’s still echoing, still challenging, still calling in and calling out. You – Who me? Yes you! – are exactly where and when you need to be. We do not choose the times into which we are born. But, like Esther, we can choose what we do with them.
Holy God: We are here, now. Use us, we pray. Amen.
Jennifer Garrison Brownell is pastor of Vancouver United Church of Christ. Her writing appears in the collection, The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms For the Struggle, available from The Pilgrim Press.