The Hebrew Bible readings from the lectionary lately have all been from the book of Esther and have made me recall one of the most powerful moments of my life, which occurred last year. I was raised in a fundamentalist church which did not permit women to even pray aloud in front of men. My parents attend a more evangelical than fundamentalist church in that denomination now (Church of Christ), but their church still does not permit women to have any sort of leadership in worship, down to forbidding them to be the ushers passing the collection plates. When I realized I was called to ordained ministry (I make this sound so simple, when in fact it was very messy and difficult), I was nervous about telling my parents for fear they wouldn't support my call. I very nervously told them that I felt called to emerging church ministry and that all the things that made me somewhat inappropriate for regular parish ministry (too tattooed, too sarcastic, too foul-mouthed...I could go on...) actually uniquely qualified me for emerging church mission development. My father stood up, got his Bible and read the verse from Esther when she goes to her uncle and says she's nervous about what God is calling her to do, to which her uncle says "you were born for such a time as this" (my paraphrase obviously). My parents then embraced me and prayed for God's blessing on my ministry. I can't express the grace in that moment.
Image is from the Veggie Tales video "Esther" in which Esther is a scallion of some sort and king Ahasuerus is, I believe, a pickle. Seriously, I really couldn't make this shit up.