The book of Esther is one of the latest writings of the Old Testament, perhaps written to inspire Jews who had been scattered in the diaspora. The narrative takes place in the court of the King of Persia, King Ahasuerus. Some think that it was written to explain and establish the Jewish festival of Purim.

This three session-study is brought to us by Kay Ward, a bishop of the Moravian Church who lives at Marquardt Manor, a Moravian retirement community in Watertown, Wisconsin. She continues to serve in ministry as a pastor to pastors and intercessor for the church. Before retiring from the staff of Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she served in team ministry with her husband, Aden. Kay was the first woman to be elected a bishop in the 541 years of the Moravian Church (the Unitas Fratrum).

Session one: For such a time as this: Esther the queen—Voices in the king’s court

Session one sets the scene for the story of Esther and her adopted father, Mortecai. Esther and Mortecai are Jews living under the rule of the Persian king, King Ahasuerus. When Esther becomes the queen, her faith is tested. The Jews, those who have been carried off from their homeland, struggle with living as strangers in a foreign land. In this session we will think about how our culture may challenge our faith.

Session two: For such a time as this: Esther saves the Jews—Finding our voices

In session two we’ll learn how, when the Jews are threatened, Esther uses her strong faith and the love of her people to embolden her to act. Through some clever schemes, intelligence and a realistic assessment of her situation, Esther is able to save her people. “For such a time as this” is Mortecai’s gentle reminder to Esther that God has placed her in the king’s court to use her voice. How might God be reminding us of our need to find our voice as we live out our faith?

Session three: For such a time as this: Remembering Esther: Using our voices

In session three, we’ll examine the last chapters of the book of Esther, which are full of hope for the future for the Jews. The defeat of their enemies is to be celebrated in a feast, the festival of Purim. Directions are given for the celebration of the festival. As women of faith, full of love for God and others, we will consider ways to find and use our voices in our present circumstances—“for such a time as this.”

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