Hello FPCL Family!
This week, we will look at the book of Esther to explore a model of Creation called Divine Improvisation shared with us by Dr. Greg Love when he came to preach and teach a class on God and Human Suffering last month. If you would like to read some of what will be summarized before the sermon, take a look at Esther, chapters 1 and 2. Other passages will be read as they occur in the sermon. See you on Sunday for a little Improv with God!
This week's worship information:
Sunday's Message: Improv with God
Esther 2:1-11, 16-18
Questions for reflection:
Do you feel that God has a plan for everything?
If so, how do you reconcile the plan with the fact that bad things happen to good people?
If not, how do you see God's relationship with history and the fate of the universe?
Intro before the First Scripture:
Before the passage we are about to hear, King Ahasuerus, ruler of 127 provinces including Israel, has thrown a great 7-day banquet for all the nobles, governors, officials, ministers, and generals of his kingdom to show off his great wealth. On the seventh day, when he and his guests were “merry with wine,” he orders his wife, Queen Vashti (who was busy hosting a separate party for the women) to come out in her royal crown so he can show off her beauty to the other men. Queen Vashti refuses, and the king becomes enraged. He banishes her from his presence forever, sending out a decree to the 127 provinces proclaiming that all women must honor their husbands, and that each man should be the master of his own house. Then, the party ends, the king sobers up, and he remembers what he has done...
Esther 2:1-11, 16-18
1After these things, when the anger of King Ahasuerus had abated, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her. 2Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. 3And let the king appoint commissioners in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in the citadel of Susa under custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; let their cosmetic treatments be given them. 4And let the girl who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so.5Now there was a Jew in the citadel of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei son of Kish, a Benjaminite. 6Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with King Jeconiah of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried away. 7Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his cousin, for she had neither father nor mother; the girl was fair and beautiful, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter. 8So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in the citadel of Susa in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. 9The girl pleased him and won his favor, and he quickly provided her with her cosmetic treatments and her portion of food, and with seven chosen maids from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her maids to the best place in the harem. 10Esther did not reveal her people or kindred, for Mordecai had charged her not to tell. 11Every day Mordecai would walk around in front of the court of the harem, to learn how Esther was and how she fared... 16When Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus in his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17the king loved Esther more than all the other women; of all the virgins she won his favor and devotion, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18Then the king gave a great banquet to all his officials and ministers—“Esther’s banquet.” He also granted a holiday to the provinces, and gave gifts with royal liberality.