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“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.’”

Esther 4:14

For such a time as this…

Sometimes we don’t want to shake our current placid state.  Everyone in our cozy corner of the world is (fairly) happy…

And then 50 people are killed and another 50 or so injured by a solo bigoted, biased, homophobic hate-filled shooter.  In our cozy corner of the world, we have the privilege to close our eyes, bask in the sun for the rest of the day and forget that tragic incident happened early yesterday morning in Orlando, Florida.

We dodge conversations on the discrimination that happens to our friends of color, the ugly words thrown at our LGBTQ friends, the catcalls and assaults and violence in homes that happens to our sisters, the ways that Muslims feel threatened just by living in this country.  We can point our fingers at everyone else that doesn’t look anything like us.  It’s their fault… It has to be… I’m just sitting on my cozy corner minding my own business.

But when the hateful rhetoric in our country is getting louder and louder and more people are dying and being abused because of their color, religion, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity/gender expression, then we as people of faith need to stop sitting in our cozy corners and get ourselves out into the world.

For such a time as this, we are called to listen to stories without judgment.

For such a time as this, we are called to open our mouths and speak out every single time we hear hate.

For such a time as this, we are called to be the voice of love in our world.

Esther could have sat in her cozy corner of the world.  She could have allowed her kin to be massacred.  Instead, she risked her own life to stand up for the lives and well being of others.

Are we willing to do the same?  Am I willing to do the same?

For such a time as this, are we willing to call out the voices of hate?  When hearing such hateful words against our sisters and brothers, are we willing to name such animosity?

Are we willing to say that our LGBT sisters and brothers are loved by God for who they are?

Are we willing to say that the lives of our sisters and brothers of color matter?

Are we willing to say that the bodies of our sisters are to be respected?

Are we willing to say that our Muslim sisters and brothers shine the light and love of God in our world and that the stereotypes are wrong?

Are we willing to say that our transgender friends are loved by God just as they are?

Are we willing to say all of these words aloud, risking our lives and livelihoods like Esther?

Will we use our privilege to listen, learn and speak to other people of privilege at such a time as this?

May the loving arms of God surround the survivors in Orlando as they heal in body, mind and soul.  May the peace of God surround the grieving family members and friends as they come to terms with the violence and hate that robbed them of their loved ones.  May the strength of God carry our LGBT, Latinx and Muslim friends as they navigate a world still so threatening.  And may God give all of us the courage to speak out against hate in our world.  Amen.