Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote these words from his prison cell at New Year 1943 to his pastoral colleagues who stood against the Nazi Regime. They remain true today:
"Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God - the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?"
He also points out the subtle ways that people, even Christians, shun responsible action:
"Here and there people flee from public altercation into the sanctuary of private virtuousness. But anyone who does this must shut his mouth and his eyes to the injustice around him. Only at the cost of self-decption can he keep himself pure from the contamination arising from responsible action. In spite of all that he does, what he leaves undone will rob him of his peace of mind. He will either go to pieces because of his disquet, or become the most hypocritical of Pharisees."
This Sunday we will consider the ninth and tenth chapters of Esther and consider how to step out in responsible and concrete action in the midst of the moral complexities and ambiguities of life.