Purim – The Power and the Passion
What in the world is a Purim party? These were the first words out of my mouth when I learned about the festival that commemorates Jewish victory over their adversaries. The more my Messianic friend shared about the delightful Purim service and party she had attended the previous night, the more I knew I had to do the same. I could already sense the power and passion of the feast welling up in my spirit! I could hardly wait for Purim to roll around again.
About ten months later, I was asked to teach on the life of Queen Esther for a Women’s Ministry event at my church. While praying for inspiration, the words, “Purim party,” popped into my mind. Immediately, I felt the direction of the Holy Spirit! Jumping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, I ran to the calendar to find the date of Purim. To my surprise and delight, Purim fell on the very week of my presentation! I knew God was in the details from the start!
The weeks I spent researching the various traditions associated with Purim were truly a labor of love that I would compare to a treasure hunt. Bursting with enthusiasm, I organized a Purim celebration for the women of my church. The event included: worship, preaching, drama, Middle Eastern music, and a Purim party, featuring trays and trays of hamantashen, the tasty, traditional, three-corned pastry of the feast that must be consumed to blot out the name of the evil Haman, who sought to annihilate the Jews in the Persian Empire. Most attendees had never heard of a Purim party. What was their post-party response? “The most fun we have ever had in church!”
The story of Purim is retold annually in synagogues on the 13th and 14th of Adar (February or March on the Gregorian calendar) to commemorate the humble intercession of Queen Esther and the mercy of Almighty God that ultimately led the exiles to victory. The Megillah, the book of Esther, is read in its entirety during the lengthy service. Fasting and feasting both play a critical role in the annual event. The three-day Esther Fast recalls the bitterness of persecution, and the feasting recalls the sweet taste of victory. In the midst of their celebration, the Jews are also required to remember the poor, setting a good example for non-Jews also.
…because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Esth 9:22
Purim Parties for Christians? Amen! To host your own Purim party, complete with drama, see my, Purim for Christians publication, available from noreenjacks.com, a bargain at only $5.00!