_ Before my friend Johnathan left for New York City, he invited us to church service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, where he sang in the choir from time to time. We thoroughly enjoyed it – so much that we continued to attend. This past Sunday, the sermon was based on a passage in the book of Esther, and it was so amazing.
The passage described how King Xerxes was entertaining his drunken male dinner guests, and eventually called in his wife, Vashti, to come so that her beauty could be seen for all of the guests. On the surface, this didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Xerxes was treating is wife like another one of the concubines, instead of royalty! Instead of asking her to do something queenly, he was asking her to do something questionable, and Vashti refused. Because she told the king “I’m not coming”, she was eventually dethroned and replaced by Esther. When the minister read this, I wasn’t quite sure where she was going with it, because this could have easily been a “wives, you need to obey your husbands or bad things will happen to you” sermon, but it wasn’t at all. It focused more around “identity vs. reality”, and knowing what actions to take based on the balance between the two.
As musicians, we often times have to consider our identity versus our reality. My personal identity, of course, is bassoonist. My reality about 40 hours a week, though, is office assistant. When we balance the different aspects of our lives, we have to constantly remember that reality constantly changes, but identity is forever. Queen Vashti’s identity was royalty, and she was not willing to make her reality concubine, even for her husband. What she did cost her in the end, but she stuck to what she felt was right, which made way for greater things to happen. When we lose that audition, or don’t get the job interview, I think we need to realize that great things can’t be given to us if we’re holding on to things that are just “good”. If Vashti hadn’t been dethroned, Esther wouldn’t have been queen. If Esther wouldn’t have been queen, she would not have had the opportunity to save the lives of the Jewish race under Haman’s anger. If Haman had assassinated the Jewish race as he planned to do, there would have been no Jesus!
As I go through this week, I’m going to look even deeper into every single experience I come across, and consider both my identity vs. reality, and also the bigger role a small decision could serve not only for me, but for anyone! As always, I’ll continue to be a queen, and not just questionable.