“Hope is the central theme of the Prophetic faith.”
Delivered 3 days short of a month after Bloody Sunday, and 3 years to the day prior to Rev. Dr. Martln Luther King, Jr’s murder, Rabbi Olan’s sermon title, “The Bible Without God,” must have rivaled current events in its shock value. Olan begins by explaining why a book that doesn’t mention God even once should be part of the canon, saying “The Book [of Esther] is an allegory speaking of ancient times, using other names, but describing really in disguised form a present condition.”
Citing examples from Jewish history, ancient and modern, he instructs his listeners, recalling how despots and tyrants ruled over and oppressed a helpless people. Helpless, that is, except that they possessed and expressed a sense of hope. Rabbi says “A careful reading of [the Book of Esther] reveals that its major theme is the survival of the people in the face of impossible odds.”
Intrepid hope is necessary in our current times, too, given the COVID-19 pandemic, economic woes, and civic and political distresses. We can look forward to the encouragement that Rabbi Olan shares in this sermon about the Book of Esther.
*Written by Lillie R. Jenkins Walker.*