Saturday, August 30, 2008

Did Not Brave Esther Speak

John Mc Cain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin took me and many by surprise.  Her tenure as governor of the 49th state of our nation has included the confrontation of corruption within her own Republican party and bold leadership to improve her state.  Who had heard of her or her work before today?  A few, but not many.  What touched me most today after being introduced as John Mc Cain's choice for a running mate was her commitment to life in the birth of her Down Syndrome son.  The two parties running for office this fall are in stark contrast to each other on many issues but especially on life issues: one is pro-choice; the other is pro-life.  I firmly believe that the Word of God is crystal clear in this area:  no one has the right to choose death for the unborn child! God is the giver of life and it is indeed a sacred gift to be cherished.  Yet we live in a dying world where pro-death forces threaten to sweep into power in a dramatic way.  I believe that Christians must speak up and make their voice heard in the upcoming election.  Life is sacred.  It remains under attack and must be protected.

This hymn text was commissioned by composer Stephen R. Johnson for Mary Ragonesi Johnson.  His tune, MARY'S DAUGHTER, was written by him for the text.  The text speaks of women who have been used by God in their lives of faithful witness and service.  It begins by telling of Esther, whose bold actions prevented the Jews of her day from being eradicated.  It continues by recalling the women who did not desert our Lord even as the forces of darkness sought to snuff the Light of the world.   Other women from the New Testament era are briefly highlighted in the third stanza.  The fourth stanza calls upon us to dare to live for Christ as we daily deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow our Savior. May we continue to be inspired by such biblical women and by faithful women in our own day!

1.  Did not brave Esther speak to free
         Her people from their doom?
     She dared confront a treachery
         That would her race entomb.
     Has God not brought you to this place
         For such a time as this,
     To speak His Word of light and grace
         So none its truth dismiss?

2.  What tender care the women showed
         When Christ was crucified!
     With tears and prayers their love bestowed
          As Jesus bled and died.
     Those faithful Marys shared the gloom
         Of Jesus' bitter strife;
     They came with spices to the tomb,
         Yet found Him raised to life!

3.  O sing of Anna, prophetess,
         The temple was her home;
     Of Phoebe, faithful deaconess,
          Who brought Paul's words to Rome;
     Of Lydia, whose cloth was dyed
          With hospitality;
     Their lives of service magnified
          The Holy Trinity.

4.   God summons you to truly care,
          To weep with those who cry,
      To take your cross and for Christ dare
          To live and self deny,
      To give till wealth is sacrificed
          For those in pressing need,
      That all may see in you the Christ--
          His love your living creed.

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