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Thursday in the First Week of Lent–March 5, 2009

  • Posted on Mar 5, 2009

A Bathrobe Day of Prayer

And Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord; she took off her splendid apparel and put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly perfumes she covered her head with ashes and dung, and she utterly humbled her body, and every part that she loved to adorn she covered with her tangled hair. Esther 14:1

The weekday Eucharistic liturgy gives us a reading from the Book of Esther today for the lesson from Hebrew Scripture. In fact, it is from the Apocrypha because these verses are thought to be a later Greek addition to the Book of Esther. The passage is about the power of prayer. For those familiar with the Jewish feast of Purim, Purim recounts Queen Esther’s courageous intervention to save the Jewish people from a pogrom during the time of the Persian King Xerxes. Esther was a powerful women of God!

When I read these verses, I am reminded of what it feels like to have a very bad day. When the children were little, we used to read the book Alexander’s Very Bad, Terrible, Awful Day to them. I don’t think that’s the exact title, but you get the idea. The description of Esther describes the aftermath of an Alexander kind of day…those days that you just don’t want to get out of bed….because you have feeling that it is about to be one of those days yet again. Or you’ve just had one of those days. Or maybe you’ve had one of those weeks. Your car has a flat tire. You can’t get the work done you need to get done because you have to call the computer company and stay on hold to get help with your non-functioning computer. There is a snow day and you have no babysitter. You know the drill.

The result is this: You wake up after the terrible and awful day or week and ….You don’t want to get dressed. You don’t want to take a shower. You will not answer the phone. You’ve had it. It’s hard to imagine that this is an ancient way of prayer. But maybe it’s something to think about….maybe, just maybe, a day when we hole up at home in our bathrobe might be very conducive to prayer. I know it’s also conducive to a bowl of ice cream and daytime tv….but it could be conducive to prayer. No answering the phone. No worrying about appearances. Just lying on the sofa—and instead of popcorn and a movie—a time of quiet and prayer. Just you and God. God doesn’t mind the bathrobe or the bad hair. God is just glad you have tuned into prayer.

What’s your solution to a very bad, terribly, awful day? Try bathrobe and God.