Issue 27 – Fall 2020
Disappointed was the feeling I felt when we needed to cancel our CAFNB bus tour to Sight and Sound Theater to see the story of Esther played out on stage. The Sight and Sound stage isn’t just any stage, but a panoramic stage with massive sets and live animals. We had stops planned along the way and then stops on the way home. A tour of Amish country and outlet shopping were two of the highlights that had to be put on hold. I had also looked forward to the fellowship on the bus. It was a season when everything was cancelled, and disappointment hung on every corner. Before last March who would have ever thought the border between Canada would be closed for eight months and counting?
I was encouraged to be able to livestream the Sight and Sound Production over the Labor Day weekend (a special on demand viewing for a small fee). While it lacked the element of “being there” it certainly was very close to the real thing right in my living room. The set was amazing; however, the real highlight was seeing this Biblical story played out in living colour.The story of Esther is also a story filled with disappointments, from Queen Vasti’s banishment from the palace to the young Hebrew woman who was chosen to run in a beauty pageant she never wanted to enter. Concealing her identity (Hebrew descent) she was the candidate who found favour with the King as a new Queen. While it was a role that would excite most, for Esther it was a disappointed honour.
Esther took that disappointment and turned it into faithful service. As the story plays out there is an evil plot to destroy God’s People. So Hathach went to Mordecai in the city square that was in the front of the king’s gate and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. Esther 4:6-7 In these turn of events Esther is providentially placed inside the palace walls “for such as time as this”.Looking through the book of Esther we see the hand of God directing paths to work past the disappointment with the fulfilment of His will in the saving of the Jewish People. As the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:22
In our season of disappointment during Covid-19 I just wonder what divine appointments the Lord has in store for us? Listening to the commentary before the live Sight and Sound Streaming Event the stakeholders of the organization expressed in an interview they had more than tripled their audience for the show—something that would have never happened without the pandemic shut down order. In moments like this in history we wait with anticipation that God is preparing us in His will and His timing for such a time as this.
A prepared place in a home for a new child is a ritualistic and sacred thing. Expecting mothers spend a lot of time thinking through the colours/furniture for the nursery. Having necessities in place to bring the child home from the hospital: the car seat, the crib and the all- important rocking chair for late night feedings. It is profound in John 14 when Jesus says He is going to prepare a place for us; especially since it is the Christian’s home for eternity.
Many of us have been home for extended periods of time these last 8 months. Vacations, extended visits to family and traveling for work are all things that have hit the pause button. If you are like me you’ve taken advantage of the time to clean out some drawers, paint some walls and tried to make your house even more desirable as a “home”. The concept of “home’ has tremendous reflective powers. For those of us born to happy families, the word home conjures up wonderful memories.
Growing up in rural New Brunswick I have experienced people moving “away” and then in retirement, “come back home.” The native land/place where you are from has strong ties. With border’s being closed families even one province over have experienced long rounds of unexpected separation. Many have no doubt become more nostalgic for their native land.
Jesus tells us in John 4 that His Father is making/ preparing room for us in His house. Even in an earthly realm that sounds reassuring. While we cannot even comprehend what heaven will be like we have an earthly picture of home and what it means to be considered and cared for by our family. He also gives us a roadmap about how to find His Father’s home. I pray that amidst all of the trials of Covid-19 that a light would shine out of John 14 for our friends, neighbours and family. Being home or close to home these last few months can turn our thoughts to the fact that our Father, through Jesus, is preparing an eternal home for us. The struggles of this world and its difficulties will have faded and we can anticipate that this heavenly home will transcend all the wonderful things we know about an earthly home/family.
May we shine His light and the truth of John 14 to everyone around us.
by Marsha Boyd-Mitchell, CAFNB Executive Director