When things feel hard and discouraging, what do you do? As one who has two small daughters, I spend a lot of time watching Disney Princess movies. Currently, Frozen and Frozen II have been the movies of choice for my youngest. So I think in terms of the song Anna sings at the turning point of Frozen II. What do you do when things feel hard, or when they feel hopeless? “The next right thing.” It’s all any of us can do.
For those maybe wanting a more theological answer, I have that as well! The pages of
the Bible are filled with stories of those in messy turmoil and searching for the next step to
take. As I reflect on our current situation in a season of change and shifting, I was wondering who we could follow through their own struggles. I was led to Esther. I would have thought that a person who has an entire book of the Bible dedicated to telling their amazing story would appear more often in our lectionaries. Also, Esther only appears one time in the Revised Common Lectionary and one time in the Narrative Lectionary. Even trying to find books and commentaries that had a chapter written about Queen Esther’s story is difficult. I have a few pages in four books that refer to her, but not a single full chapter.
Esther’s story of standing up for what she knows is right in the face of persecution and
loss speaks to my heart at this time. As does the fact that she is surrounded by individuals who are looking for the best way forward for the collective. Esther steps into this role as queen in a foreign land surrounded by advisors who are strengthened by God. They all rely on that strength to move to “the next right thing.”
The months of June and July we will walk with Esther and the Hebrew people as they
navigate oppression, exile, and an ever-changing power structure around them. This story will challenge us to continue to move to “the next right thing.” For me, there are many similarities between the struggles Elsa and Anna encounter in their animated universe and how that parallels the story of Queen Esther in Babylon. Be prepared for some Frozen and Frozen II references and songs to be shared. Maybe we will even watch it together at a drive-in movie as a congregation.
Because these stories help give us understanding on how we can engage in our culture and bring the stories of the Bible alongside of the stories our community members know.
Esther will look for “the next right thing” as she seeks safety for her people. In this time
of our congregation’s life, we too are looking for “the next right thing.” Through aching hearts filled with uncertainty, I give you these words “You are lost, hope is gone, But you must go on.
And do the next right thing.” So, let’s travel Into the Unknown, recognizing that we will feel
Lost in the Woods, praying This Will All Make Sense When I Am Older, and seeing where we
need to Let it Go, and hopefully we will all find The Next Right Thing to do.
Join us on this journey this summer as we discover what God has in store and how God
works through every decision if we keep ourselves focused on God’s own leading.