Esther 4:8-17Today’s symbol is Esther’s crown. Queen Esther bravely protected God’s people when they were living far away in another land. I wonder how Esther felt as she fasted and prepared to go in to see the king? The story doesn’t mention God’s name: I wonder if she felt confident that God was with her and her people?I wonder what it was like to be one of God’s people living in Persia? To know that you were different, and that this was not your home? To know that powerful people might want to hurt you for being different?I wonder if I have ever felt like an outsider, or like I was different from the people around me? I wonder if I felt like my story wasn’t their story? What do I want to say to God about that feeling?I wonder if I have ever felt like God put me somewhere for a reason? I wonder if there are people or places in my life right now where God has good work for me to do? Can I ask God to help me trust him to do loving work through me?In this story, God’s people are scattered. They are living in a far away land, with a foreign king. I wonder if they were hoping for God to return and save them again? As I wait in Advent, can I hope today for Jesus to come for us with his saving love?Our providing, all-knowing God, you work in the world in ways we cannot see. You see to it that we are put in places where we can do your work. Help us to be brave when we need to, and to trust your providence because you hold our entire world in your hands. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.