The feast of Purim recalls the time when a beautiful young orphan queen known as Esther saved her people from annihilation in ancient Persia.
Her identity as a Jew was a secret at the time of her accession to the throne as the potential for anti-Semitism was so great that the Bible’s account of her heroics only mentions God in code.
But when her guardian, Morcedai, alerted her to Haman’s genocidal plot against all the Jews in an empire stretching from India to Egypt, he challenged her with these words: “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4.14)
She knew it would be dangerous to approach the king without being summoned but, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego risked the fiery furnace rather than compromise their faith, Esther too bit the bullet, defiantly declaring: “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4.16)
Is it not time for the church to stand up for the Jews as Esther did? The church in Germany were, for the most part, silent as they watched Hitler’s anti-Semitic cancer spread.
Thankfully, para-church organisations like Christian Friends of Israel, representing thousands of individual Christians, have until now played the part of Mordecai in their attempt to alert the church to the dangers.