By Sr. Noreen Stevens, Directing Deaconess: this reflection is modified from the Deaconess Community’s Verse of the Day. The Verse of the Day is a daily devotional that is distributed to the Deaconesses through email and mail. It is one of the ways that the Deaconesses grow in community even though they are geographically dispersed.
Esther 4:14 “For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Call for prayer, fasting, and advocacy…
ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton and Episcopal Presiding Bishop Curry invite us to fast, pray and love by advocating. They call us to fast on the twenty-first of each month from now through December 2018, when the 115th US Congress will adjourn.
The twenty-first is the day when 90 percent of Supplemental Nutrition Benefits Program (SNAP) benefits run out for families. SNAP and other public programs affecting hungry people struggling with poverty are facing deep funding cuts. We are called to pray that our government leaders act with justice and celebrate liberty and life for all people. We are praying for God’s people. The call reads in part:
We fast to fortify our advocacy in solidarity with families who are struggling with hunger. We fast to be in solidarity with neighbors who suffer famine, who have been displaced, and who are vulnerable to conflict and climate change. We fast with immigrants who are trying to make a better future for their families and now face the risk of deportation. We fast in solidarity with families on SNAP who often run out of food by the last week of the month.
Some people will wear burlap on the twenty-first of the month to represent the sackcloth worn by the Jewish people in their time of lamentation. If you choose, you can wear a strip around your wrist, a piece pinned to your coat.
O God, fill us with the wisdom and faith of Esther, motivating our prayers and advocacy for such a time as this. Amen