This week is Stromness Shopping Week - probably the biggest week of the year for our little town. Tourists everywhere and a heavy schedule of events. Last year, on the last and great day of the Shopping Week, I preached on Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7). This year, having been asked again to preach [suckers for punishment], I will look at another week long party and the lady (Queen Vashti) who messed it up on the last day. Weird parallel.
So, this morning at Stromness Baptist Church, I will be retelling the Esther story, which is what the youth were learning during their CE camp this week. Esther is the little orphan girl who changed the course of history while sitting on a couch. Thanks to the wise advise of her mentor - the old guy with a mullet named Mordecai. Actually, he may have adopted the mullet after his rise to prominence, as did other Persian dignitaries.
Mullets rock! This is me with my mullet wig last October in Nevada, USA, standing next to my wife whose dreadlocks are actually real. I will bring the wig along this morning for illustration, although Mordecai's mullet probably had ringlets (like dreadlocks) at the bottom. This is according to Mullet scholars Mark Larson and Barney Hoskyns in their classic book 'The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods' . . . a book given to me by Derek Chapman (standing next to me in photo) and from which i now quote:
"The Persians wore their hair shorter than the Assyrians, although if anything the bi-level effect of the Persian Mullet was even more pronounced, with the top consisting of tousled curls and the bottom fanning out across the shoulders in long braided ringlets."
Esther, by John Everett Mallais
I count 7 parties in the book of Esther and we will look at all of them, one by one. The Kingdom of God is, like the feast of Purim, a time for feasting, joy, generosity and justice. I think it is also a time in this Post-christian Europe for the church to act like Esther and not Queen Vashti. I have mentioned this before a few years ago but will throw it out there again:
Vashti was the only wife.
Esther was one of the girls in the harem.
Vashti was a host.
Esther was a guest.
Vashti lived in safety.
Esther lived in danger
Vashti thew a private party for her selected friends.
Esther threw a public celebration for her people.
(but wait . . . there's more)
Vashti had luxury and ease.
Esther fought for justice
Vashti enjoyed privacy.
Esther was on show.
Vashti gained privilege.
Esther developed beauty.
Vashti's parties never happened again.
Esther's party became a yearly festival.
Vashti had beauty.
Esther had beauty and wise guidance from a mentor.
Vashti could not enter the throne room without invitation.
Esther entered boldly and was received.
Vashti entertained her friends.
Esther saved her people.
Question for the theologs out there: Why do we pronounce her name in English with a silent "h"? This always bugs me, especially because the The Book of Mormon contains the book of Ester.
Related: Mordacai had a mullet.