Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Purim Celebration

Over the last 11 weeks or so I've been studying the book of Esther with Beth Moore and 10 other beautiful ladies.  I've written pages and pages in my prayer journal about all the things God is teaching me and the areas He wants me to grow and be encouraged.  It was such a great study and a fun time getting to know these ladies better.  Last night we had an end-of-the-study party

Are you up for a little history and culture lesson?

Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.  Esther 9:26

During the reign on King Xerxes, there was an evil Prime Minister named Haman who was able to sign into law an irrevocable decree that all the Jews in the land should be annihilated.  God worked through Queen Esther to save her people.  Haman was put to death and yet another irrevocable law was put into effect that the Jews would be allowed to defend themselves on the appointed day.

"Purim was a spontaneous celebration of the joy of finding oneself still standing on the day after an irrevocable death decree was executed.  The day of death had come and gone and God's people were still alive!  Thus, Purim is in the Sabbath, a joyous rest after evil and the threat of death have passed."

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3

"Nothing in the universe's order-no kingdom, no nation-is sustained through the millennia except by Christ's powerful...whether of not they acknowledge Him.  It is this unexplainable survival that the Jews celebrated during that first Purim.."

"In large part the Jews have kept the tradition they 'took upon themselves to establish'.  A handful of customs surrounding Purim remained the same.  Some Jews still fast the day before Purim as a symbol of Esther's three-day fast preceding her courageous approach to Xerxes.  Many give presents to one another and money to the poor."

This is actually a too-short, poorly written summary of the tradition.  The story of Esther is such an intriguing, remarkable story.  I highly recommend you pull out your bible and take 15 minutes to read the whole thing.  As Beth Moore kept saying, God is not IN the book of Esther, but He's all over it!

And so, us Christian-American girls celebrated Purim last night, and oh, we had so much fun!

It is traditional to have a Purim Seudah (feast) on Purim day. And it is customary to serve food at the Purim meal that has symbolic meaning that links to the Purim story.

One custom is to serve an especially long, braided challah in memory of the rope used to hang Haman. Triangular-shaped food such as kreplach and hamantashen pastries are eaten in memory of Haman's three-cornered hat.  Since Esther ate as a vegetarian in order to keep kosher in the King's Palace, many people serve a vegetarian Purim meal. It is customary to eat poppy seeds on Purim because tradition says that Queen Esther ate only seeds and legumes when she moved into the King's Palace in order to avoid eating non-kosher food.

When I first got the idea to make the feast "authentic" I almost dismissed it right away.  But then I did a little research and found that most of the food was actually doable and best of all editible!  The ladies were good sports and willingly went along with it, everyone bringing something they'd never made or tasted before. Now that is brave!

I have to say, all of the food was outstanding!  We ate Challah bread, Sugared Almond Salad, Peacock Vegetables, Quick Meat & Veggie Pie, Poppy Seed Cookies, Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes, Best Bean Salad, a Spinach and Egg Salad with mustard dressing and a fruit platter.  Like I said, we ate good!

It was such a blessed couple months studying God's word with these ladies.  We laughed and cried, our minds were challenged, our hearts were encouraged and our lives are changing.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers sisters live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

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