Daily Worship

Empty tables

Lily Cathcart March 03, 2024 3 0
Image credit: Unsplash
Listen to this daily worship

Esther 4: 10-17 (NRSVA)

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, 11 ‘All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden sceptre to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days.’ 12 When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, 13 Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, ‘Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 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.’ 15 Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, 16 ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.’ 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

When you are about to do something brave you would hope to be at your full strength. Well fed, well rested, well clothed and well supported. Let’s hope that for Esther two out of four is enough.

It seems strange to me, because I am someone for whom fasting is not a part of my cultural understanding, that going without food might prepare me for bravery. But Esther and her community, though separated, draw strength from taking this communal action. An action which is in stark contrast to the many feasts within her story. Instead of setting the table she clears it.

Her hope lies in the knowledge that she is not doing this alone, that if she fails, a rescue will come from somewhere. Because although God’s names are absent from the book of Esther, faith and hope are not.




Dear God of bravery,

Thank you that you offer us strength when we need it

Help us to find ways to connect with ourselves

Help us to find ways to connect with our community

No matter where they are

No matter where we are