Archive for May 28th, 2007

Your Difference Makes the Difference

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Esther 4:1-17 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

This is the turning point in the story of Esther. Before this chapter, the wicked Haman has tried to annihilate all Jews by writing a law making it legal to kill Jews and take their property on the thirteenth day of Adar. After this chapter, Esther will save the Jews from the impending holocaust by going to the king to change the law on behalf of her people. But, before that can happen, Cousin Modecai must make Esther aware of the danger. He has to get a message into the king’s harem, where he’s not allowed to go because he’s a man, and from which Esther can’t leave. How can he do such a thing? Who can take the message?

Enter Hathach, a eunuch employed in the harem.

In the ancient near east, eunuchs were given special boundary-crossing abilities: They were allowed to pass between the worlds of men and women; they served in temples, guarding the sacred spaces from the profane; they were even employed to guard the tombs of famous people, marking the boundary between the living and the dead. A big reason for this boundary-crossing power was eunuchs’ status as “neither men nor women.” In a real sense, eunuchs were the original transgender community.

And, in the book of Esther, a eunuch is the pivotal character who makes the salvation of the Jews possible. Without Hathach, the message would never have gotten to Esther, and she couldn’t have gone to the king. Hathach is the hero of Esther 4:1-17 for the simple reason that Hathach is able to cross out of the women’s world (the harem) and back again. And that’s why this is one of my favorite scripture passages.

Esther 4:1-17 is a reminder that all of us have a role to play, and that often the thing that makes us most different is what makes us most necessary. It’s also a strong affirmation for those of us who are gender-variant. Think about it this way, if it hadn’t been for the gender-variant Hathach, the Jews would have all been killed — there would be no Jewish people, and there could have been no Jesus. That’s quite an affirmation of Hathach’s importance.

Thought for the day: Take a few minutes to think about what makes you different, because that’s a key to knowing how God will use you most powerfully. God made you just as you are for a purpose that only you can fulfill.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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