- Pathfinder

Reply To: Analyze one of the supplementary Bible passages in light of the course content. Do you see evidence of the Hebraic map? Did anything about the passage surprise you? Was there any part of the passage that stuck out to you in particular?

John Gay

I was really struck by this phrase in the Esther reading, when Mordechai is speaking to Esther, exhorting her to act on behalf of her people: “And who knoweth whether thou art not therefore come to the kingdom, that thou mightest be ready in such a time as this?” In other words, he is saying to her that she does not know if this is the moment that God has put her in her great station for…obviously this is a very humbling passage because it invites us to consider the same in our lives and, for those of us involved in poltics/work adjacent to politics, to wonder if there is some task, perhaps even one thing, perhaps as with Esther one very hard thing, that God has placed us there to do. (Indeed, when you look at salvation history there are plenty of people who play some part, sometimes by big and difficult actions like Esther’s, but sometimes by small actions like Rebekah giving water to Jacob’s servant’s camels.)
In the framework of Hebraic leadership provided by the course, this whole scene resonates…Esther states her awareness that she could die trying to save her people, and Mordechai tells her that “ if thou wilt now hold thy peace, the Jews shall be delivered by some other occasion: and thou, and thy father’s house shall perish.” This is especially remarkable since Mordechai, speaking prophetically, basically says God doesn’t *need* her cooperation to carry out His plan – He can do it another way if He wills, but her cooperation will decide her own fate and that of her household. For us, this implies that our response to God’s will in history, whether cooperative or not, shapes our eternal destiny but cannot ultimately thwart God’s will, even if, as Ester implies, our own action in accord with God’s will may prove futile in the moment. (I’m also reminded here of Niebuhr talking about how we operate in a frame of meaning that is larger than our ability to understand it.)
That is extremely humbling and challenging and frankly intimidating, especially since God does not always speak to us so clearly – the goods of politics are not only partial and temporary, as the course says, they are prudential…they often involve competing goods and competing duties.