There may be no moment that requires as much humility and vulnerability as the moments we realize the choice we have to make may cost us more than we would ever really want to give. Our choices impact many people.

Esther is a young Jewish girl who ends up in the favor and presence of the king. She has a position many would want. She is in contact with her family, though not living under their roof. And in just a few days’ time, Esther’s place, position, and power are on the line.

She is confronted with the choice to risk her own life by telling the king something about her own heritage—that she is Jewish—in order to possibly save the Jewish people from being destroyed in a horrible act of genocide. There is no guarantee of the outcome. Esther may lose her own life, and her people may still be killed. But in this moment, she has to make a choice. Whatever she decides will affect the lives of many others.

Risky moments come along often in our lives as disciples. We are called on to make hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions mean we will be set aside or removed. And sometimes those decisions will release an oppression or situation that is crying out for the redemption, grace, and freedom that only come when God is involved. Where are you being nudged to make a decision that opens the door to abundant and new life for someone else? What is the choice that leads to life?

God of mercy, help us to be willing to take risks when we find ourselves in situations like Esther’s. When our choices will impact others’ lives, give us the wisdom and courage to be faithful. We need you in such moments we may face today. Thank you for always being present with us. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-50

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Lectionary Week
September 20–26, 2021
Scripture Overview

The Jewish people have faced possible destruction numerous times. The story begins not with the Holocaust in Europe but far back in history during the time of Esther. The wicked Haman plots to wipe out God’s people, but God saves the people through Esther’s courage. The psalmist praises God for this kind of salvation from seemingly impossible circumstances. Although we may not face genocide, we have our own struggles. James encourages us to pray with faith, believing that God can and will answer. Our prayers are powerful, James assures us. Jesus teaches us the importance of letting nothing stand between God and us. Using vivid hyperbole, he admonishes us to put the pursuit of God above everything else and to support others in that same pursuit.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22. When have you chosen to speak out in a way that made you vulnerable in order to help someone else?
Read Psalm 124. Recall a time when you had a strong sense of God’s being on your side. What was the situation? How did that assurance come?
Read James 5:13-20. How do the members of your faith community pray with and for one another?
Read Mark 9:38-50. Whoever is not against you is for you. How can you share God’s love with those outside your inner circle?

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