Who knows? (@ailsawright)


Reading some of the contributions of my fellow #digidisciples I see mixed responses to the Biblical book of Esther, with some being able to relate to it and some not. It certainly is set in a different time when different ways of life and expectations of roles were the norm. Yet it also addresses issues which are still live for us today: the use and abuse of power and influence, racial prejudice, women as possessions rather than people, the financial imbalance which means very few control most of a country’s wealth.

Although some might debate if this book should even find a place in the Bible, I admit it’s one of my favourites. Maybe this has something to do with the British tendency to cheer on the underdog. Certainly, despite her eventual rise to the position of queen, Esther was a person with little say in what happened to her for much of the time. As an orphan she could have been very vulnerable, had it not been for the care of Mordecai. It seems that she, along with the other young women chosen to populate King Xerxes’ harem, had little choice about what happened to her. She had no control over what happened to her body – it was to undergo a beautification process and then she was to entertain the king with a night of sex whether she wanted to or not.

Turning points in history, however, often depend on the actions of people who apparently have little power. It was Joseph’s care for others while he was an imprisoned slave which eventually led to his being prime minister of Egypt and preserving his family and thus preserving the Jews. It was Rosa Parkes’ refusal to be browbeaten into giving up her seat on a bus which led to the emancipation of black people in the USA. It was one man who set himself alight in Tunis who sparked the Arab Spring. Of course, there will have been thousands of similar actions, by similar people, which have apparently had no impact and hence are not remembered.

Mordecai had a great understanding of this it seems. He said to Esther: “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). He left the answer open; it might have been that Esther was where she was for the particular purpose of saving the Jews, or maybe not. Mordecai was convinced that the Jews would be saved no matter what. It was up to Esther to decide if she, who even as queen had little power, would act in the hope of making a difference. As we know, it seems she was indeed put in her position to bring about the rescue of the Jews. The rest, as they say, is history which Jews celebrate to this day.

As for Esther, so for us. Who knows if we have arrived at our position as #digidisciples for such a time as this? Who knows what will happen as we each drop our small pebble in the vast pond of the digital world and the ripples spread out? Esther could have gone to see the king and suffered execution as a result. She could have made no impact at all on his law and been killed with her fellow Jews. As it turns out, she saved a nation.

Esther encourages us to act when given the opportunity, not knowing what our impact will be. Will one more blog post, or online conversation, or email, or text message or tweet make any difference to anyone? Who knows? With God all things are possible. We take our opportunities, do our bit, and God does the rest (1 Corinthians 3:6).

About Ailsa Wright

Lay Pastor of Anglicans of Second Life, teacher, counsellor. Living in Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England.