March 12, 2022
Welcome, and we hope your week has been a peaceful and productive one. I want to begin by letting you know that tomorrow’s gathering, normally in-person, will be online only. Please join us on YouTube or Facebook for our live-stream, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Our speaker is Iyabo Onipede, Co-Director of Compassionate Atlanta, who will be speaking on “Compassionate Self-Discovery.” Many thanks also to Jennifer Ferren, who will be leading the service (and will provide wonderful music, as always!)
This week, our minds remain on the escalating war in Ukraine. We continue to pray for the safety of all Ukrainians and for the cessation of violence. There are many hearts bent on peace, and we pray that they prevail.
This week, the Jewish holiday of Purim begins on Wednesday night, March 16, and continues through Thursday, March 17. The festival of Purim celebrates and commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from death and annihilation at the hands of the Persian king under the advice of Haman, a persecutor of the Jews. The agent of their deliverance was Esther, who had been selected by the king to be his wife and Queen after the king had executed his prior wife. Not an enviable position! Esther and her father, Mordechai, learned of Haman’s plot against the Jews and Esther appealed to the king, causing his mind to be changed. Haman was executed, and the Jews were saved.
The festival of Purim is one of the most joyful in the Jewish calendar. Reading about it this week reminds me, and teaches us, of the power of one individual to make a difference for so many. We don’t know if this story happened, but its lesson is true. When one person stands for what is right, lives are changed. One can make a difference.
We each have known of inspiring people who have stood in the breach and changed lives. Right now we see Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who has amazed and inspired his countrymen and the world by his refusal to stand down in the face of Russian aggression. His personal courage and example resonate around the world. We see heroes in quieter settings such as the thousands of caregivers who have made such a difference to so many during the Covid pandemic, putting their own health on the line to save lives. These anonymous heroes each answered the question of whether they would step up, or step back.
In this season of Purim, let’s keep in mind the difference each one of us can make in the lives of those around us. We each have the freedom, whatever the circumstances of our lives, to decide how we will show up. What a wonderful opportunity!
You will find Sunday, March 13th service, Compassionate Self-Discovery, here.