There’s something incredibly holy about sitting on a child’s bed, simultaneously cradling ancient texts and a tender heart. No matter how exhausted I feel, I will never tire of moments when my children, and their natural curiosity, take over as they listen, ask, and wonder in attentiveness to the things of God.
Last night, at her behest, I started reading the book of Esther to Moriah. Tonight, I closed the book after finishing chapter 4. That’s the chapter that houses Mordecai’s famous challenge to Esther that perhaps she was made queen “for such a at time as this.” The chapter ends in dramatic fashion, when Esther rises to her cousin’s challenge and makes a bold decision. She calls for all Jews to fast and pray for three days after which she will go to the king to beg for mercy on behalf of the Jewish people. This is her line-in-the-sand moment where there’s no going back. She strengthens her decision with a verbal seal of these words - “If I die, I die.”
I can not wholly explain the sacred space held between a mother and her daughter as they read of a brave, determined woman who decided to fight for justice. I can not articulate the fierce fragility of a moment when a child is introduced to human courage that risks well-being in order to combat inequity in the world. Tonight, the bright blue walls of my daughter’s bedroom transformed into an incubator for justice.
At least, my prayer is that is so.
When I closed the bible, I looked at Moriah and I told her that one day she will see something broken in the world and she will feel something deep down that will rise up and make her want to fight to make it right. I placed my hand on her, I looked straight into her eyes, and I explained that there would come a day when she would find her heart beating fast because something is wrong in the world and she won’t be able to rest. I told her that moment would be God inviting her to wake up and be like Esther who saw injustice and knew something had to be done, no matter the cost.
“If I die, I die.”
I look at the world and I easily see brokenness. It’s everywhere. All the time. And yet, I see more and more people coming into their Esther moment. Finding that thing that has quickened their heart, that won’t let go of them until they push back against the wrong, no matter the consequences.
When brokenness is prevalent it can create deep, crippling hopelessness, but it also seems to birth countless crusaders who find the courage to say, “if I die, I die.” I easily see the abundance of indignities in our world, but I also see the rising of those who refuse to allow the indignities to go undisturbed. More and more are having an Esther moment, and I am beginning to think, on the scales of justice, it is our action that truly acquits us.
This is just a working theory, but maybe we never truly live until we have that “if I die” Esther moment. Maybe none of us become acquainted with life unless we are willing to lay it down. Maybe Jesus meant it as he was teaching his disciples to pray. Maybe he was inviting us into the effort to bring a bit of heaven to earth. I wonder if that could that be the mosaic of the Kingdom? Each of us finding our place in the fight to bring justice where it had been absent? To usher in equity where there had been oppression, minimization, and victimization.
It was a hallowed moment as I sat on the edge of her bed. Moriah came face to face with a hero who saw wrong and dared to believe right was worth fighting for. I pray the day comes quickly when God stokes the embers of tonight’s story and stirs up my daughter’s fire. I long for the moment when a present grievance awakens the warrior in Moriah. The warrior that will fight to bring a piece of heaven to earth. The warrior who has come to terms with the fact that some things are worth risking your life for; because without them, maybe we never really live anyway.
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai...
"I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.
And if I perish, I perish.”
- Esther 4:15a, 16b -