When's the last time you read the Book of Esther?
This short book of the Bible tells the story of a Jewish orphan who rises to become queen in the palace of a Persian king. Because of her strength and her character, she manages to save the Jewish people from danger while being faithful to the God she loves. The story has treachery, intrigue, celebration, heroes, and villains. In other words, it's perfect for Vacation Bible School!
June 19 through June 21, all hands will be on deck as we immerse ourselves in this piece of God's story. Beginning each night at 5:30 pm, we'll share a meal and then turn our attention to a carefully casted stage production. In the role of the conflicted King Ahasuerus: David Dallas. In the role of the crafty and deceitful Haman: shifty Steve Iwanski. In the role of Mordecai, Esther's faithful cousin and adoptive caregiver: the faithful Hal Fiore. And making her Nativity debut in the title role of Esther: our friend Elizabeth Hinckley. The action climaxes in a great banquet, and on our final night, you expect our actors to do a little dinner theater while we feast on better than average VBS fare.
Esther's story is the origin of our Jewish brothers' and sisters' holiday, Purim: a two-day celebration of God's care and protection for the Jewish people. With the help of Rachael Goldberg, we'll be incorporating a number of traditional Purim activities into our own exploration of Esther. We'll make Hamantaschen, a traditional stuffed cookie. For crafts, we'll make our own crowns and groggers, the traditional Purim noisemakers. Parents, you're welcome for that one. David Williamson has picked out some great Purim songs for us to learn from a 1960's-era Jewish youth hymnal. And for our Thursday evening feast, Billy Bowman is making brisket, a tradition of some Jewish families for Purim.
Put it all together, and we've got quite a special program being put together for kids entering 3K to 5th grade. Of course, we'll need all sorts of helper, but even if you're not going to help us corral kids and make crafts, you might consider stopping by anyway! I believe Nativity is at its best when folks of all ages gather to learn, play, eat, pray and sing together. And this year's Vacation Bible School offers us a chance to do all of that, all while getting to know the traditions of our Jewish neighbors a bit more. So, join us!