OT: Esther 1:1-3:15
Yay! We are in Esther! It is late, so I haven't looked Esther up, but I did complete Beth Moore's 9-week study on the book at the beginning of this year. From what I remember from Moore, the story of Esther takes place after Cyrus lets the exiles return. Thus, Mordecai and Esther are among the Jews who choose to stay in Medo-Persia.
It's weird, though. Because I have recently studied Esther so intensely, and b/c the story has long since been familiar, I find that I don't have a ton to write about it. In Moore's study, she focused on every verse individually and had all sorts of things to say about Xerxes, about the banquet, about Vashti, and about everyone's motivations. There was definitely a lot of psychoanalysis going on in that study. Yet, I don't really feel a need to recap it here, simply b/c there would just be so much to recap.
Instead, I just focused on the story today. More than usual, I found myself appalled at Xerxes' behavior, his reckless and easily manipulated way of doing business. And I was equally appalled by the idea of the "beauty pageant," in which the "lucky" ladies had no choice but to participate. In fact, most everything about the story made me glad that I live in a very different time.
I also found Mordecai to be more stubborn than usual today (even though I did love that he took Esther in as his own daughter). I guess my interpretation is based on Moore's claim that Mordecai's animosity to Haman was because he was an Agagite, and apparently, there is some bad blood b/t Jews and Agagites (I just looked up Agag on biblegateway, and all I got was that he was the king that they didn't kill when they were supposed to). Anyway, based on Moore's extensive explanation, it seems that Mordecai's intractability toward Haman stemmed more from a personal hatred than some principle against bowing to anyone but God (which is subconsciously how I've always read it). Regardless, Haman is a bad dude, even if Mordecai did slight him.
NT: 1 Cor. 11:17-34
Paul's writings today provide a unique window into the practice of the Lord's Supper. And when I look through that window, I don't see "our" Lord's Supper. I see something quite different. In Corinthians, the Lord's Supper was a meal that could both fill your stomach up with food and get you drunk (21). In contrast, no one is going to get filled up by the little wafer we eat every Sunday, and it categorically impossible to get drunk from a thimble-full of grape juice. And as a Christian in a church which seeks to replicate the New Testament practices as closely as possible, I'm a bit bothered by the discrepancy b/t Paul's words and our customs.
Even though we don't often quote verses 20-22 in our Lord's Supper talks, we do refer frequently to verses 23-29. They provide the standard explanation of the practice of observing the Lord's Supper, and they also give a stern warning about the state of the hearts of the participants. When we take the Lord's Supper, we must use that time to focus on Christ's death. Specifically, "anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself" (29). I have always interpreted this verse as talking about recognizing the symbolism of the bread and the wine, which represent Christ's body and blood. Thinking about the interpretation of my Catholic neighbors, though, makes me realize that they probably take the verse as saying, "If you don't recognize that the bread and wine are physically Christ's body, then you are drinking judgment on yourself." I can see why they would view Protestants, who don't believe in transubstantiation, as eating and drinking judgment on themselves, b/c, literally speaking, we do not recognize that as Christ's body.
That said, I stand by the symbolic interpretation of both the act and this verse.
Psalm 35: 17-28
David continues to ask God to save him from his enemies.
The first verse is about "quarrelsome and ill-tempered" wives, and the second maintains that the homes of the wise will have "stores of choice food and oil." As a wife who seeks to be peacemaking and even-tempered, and as a couponer who knows the value of a good stockpile, I see both of these verses as applying directly to me.