Faith Voices: Hope for the Holidays – Pastor Wesley Dunbar

I have had two occasions in the past year to read through the book of Esther in the Hebrew scriptures. In this inspiring novella, Esther is a Jewish beauty queen winner who replaces Queen Vashti, who refused to prance before the king’s partying crowd adorned only in her crown. Esther, apparently unaware of an edict of death against her Jewish people, was challenged by Uncle Mordecai to appeal to the king to intervene on behalf of her people. His words echo down through history to us today: “Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family.”

We are being accosted at every turn with hate speech, antisemitism, unconscionable acts against innocent people and people in power doing nothing. Where do we find hope during a season when many of our faith traditions speak of hope? What does hope look like? Queen Vashti, Mordecai and Esther show us a way forward. Resistance is what hope looks like. Queen Vashti stood up and said “NO!” Mordecai spoke up and challenged Esther. Esther showed up to the king’s chambers even if it meant death.

Hope is about resistance no matter the cost. Resistance in the streets, worship, and the halls of government. This resistance brings the strength of hope as we are bound together by love. Whatever way you celebrate during this time of year take time to be fortified with love so that our work of hopeful resistance together can be a light for a moment like this. And with God’s grace and a “roll of the dice” we can find a way forward.

Maybe it was for a moment like this, a season like this, that you came to be part of God’s celebration.

Pastor Wesley Dunbar
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Thornton, CO
Adams County Faith Leaders Caucus

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