Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday in Pentecost, Proper 20: Haman's hilarious hatred

Opening Sentence
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him. Psalm 96:9

God Who Made the Earth and Heaven

Commemoration: Lancelot Andrewes

O Lord and Father, our King and God, by whose grace the Church was enriched by the great learning and eloquent preaching of your servant Lancelot Andrewes, but even more by his example of biblical and liturgical prayer: Conform our lives, like his, to the image of Christ, that our hearts may love you, our minds serve you, and our lips proclaim the greatness of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 81, 82

Lessons: Esther 6, Acts 19:1-10, Luke 4:1-13

For anyone else, the irony would be tragic. But for a man as evil and filled with hatred as Haman, it is nothing short of side-splittingly comic. The king, upon learning that nothing has been done to honor Mordecai for saving his life, calls in Haman and orders him to parade through the city the very man whom Haman is conspiring to have killed.

Once again, Haman's enormous ego entraps him in a most hilarious situation. "Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?" Haman asks himself (v. 6). In his self-centered universe, there is no one more honorable in the king's sight than himself. So, he recommends only the highest of honors be given "to the man whom the king delights to honor," thinking, of course, that he will be the one who will be dressed in the king's own "royal robes" and paraded about the city square on the king's own horse. What a shock it must have been to Haman to learn that he is not "the man whom the king delights to honor" but, rather, "the king's most noble official" who is commanded to parade through the city square the man he so despises.

At this point, Haman and his family seem already to know the outcome of the story. Haman will fall at the hand of Mordecai. Mordecai's people will be delivered, and all of Haman's plans will come to nothing. Sympathy might be in order for anyone else. But for Haman, justice is about to laugh in his face.

Abide with Me