by Mason Puckett

by Mason Puckett

Planting seeds

Jesus Logic

Once Esther musters the courage to ask on behalf of her people for an act of advocacy and liberation from the king, the tide turns immediately. The king is happy to be in his wife’s corner and happy to turn on Haman, having him executed for his violent insanity (Esther 7). In the wake of Haman’s removal from the story, the king elevates Esther and Mordecai to Haman’s former position of authority. Once again, we can hear the faint voice…
selective focus of hot burning coals in ash

Let’s Be Losers Together

The book of Esther is a story about power run amok. King Ahasuerus throws a ridiculously indulgent party in his palace. Memucan legislates that wives are legally prohibited from defying their husbands. And Haman legislates that others must bow down to him. And when Mordecai runs afoul of Haman, Haman makes his vendetta not only against Mordecai, but against all the Jews, legislating that they are to be annihilated. This is how power behaves in the story – it behaves…
selective focus of word imagine made of cubes surrounded by blocks with letters on wooden surface

Dare to Imagine

The book of Esther opens up with king Ahasuerus throwing a palace-wide party that lasts 180 days (6 months!). And at the end of 180 days, the king opens the party up to the whole capitol city for an additional seven days. For Ahasuerus, this is what it means to have power, to do as one pleases for as long as one feels like. When he is “merry with wine” he decides to summon his wife, Vashti, simply for the…

To See God Anyway

There’s a common Biblical word that is conspicuously absent in the book of Esther. The word is “God.” Yes, God is not mentioned a single time in the entire ten chapters of Esther. In one way, Esther is a kind of Exodus story – the Israelites finding themselves embedded in a hostile foreign nation and experiencing deliverance. On the other hand, the complete absence of any mention of God makes it a quite different tale than the Exodus which is…

The Way of Jesus and Esther

The book of Esther has unique ways of showing us who God is and how God is active in the world. It’s also a simply good story, filled with plot twists, interesting characters, and dire stakes. The book of Esther is a story about power and how most of it is possessed by the wrong people. It’s a story about people who manipulate to prosper themselves. It’s a story about the inherent immaturity and insecurity of those with the most…
Magnifying glass and red rose on a book

My Secret Heart

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak.” With these words the God of Psalm 50 gathers us together to hear a word from Him. What is our gut reaction to this invitation? Joy? Intrigue? Hope? Dread? Within Psalm 50, dread might be the most appropriate reaction, for God continues, “O Israel, I will testify against you.” But before God names His complaint, He first, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, establishes what His complaint is not. “Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke…
River in jungle

On the Other Side of the Water

“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you.” This is the first promise God makes to Israel in the book of Joshua, right before the Israelites take their first actual steps through the Jordan River into the promised land. Everywhere you take a single step is a gift from God, the promise goes. Every time the muscles in your body move you a step forward, you are receiving a gift – that God…
Summer solstice celebration jumping into the fire. Burning flames

I Will Be With You

“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 What a beautiful baptismal reflection. Perhaps…
Field Of Wheat Touched By The Hands Of Spikes In The Sunset Light. Wheat Sprouts In A Farmer's Hand.

The Fire Is Really Grace

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” -Matthew 3:11-12 We’re never going to be truly finished exploring what the waters of baptism do…
Austria, Tyrol, couple hiking at Unterberghorn at sunrise

Let There Be Light, Again

The way the Gospel of Mark tells the story of the crucifixion, Jesus has nothing eloquent to say in his final moments, nothing like, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” or “It is finished.” The way Mark tells the story, Jesus’ final moments include only him screaming and then dying (Mark 15:37). We’re meant to witness the complete agony and complete despair that Jesus is experiencing on this day. Mark wants us to know how miserable Jesus is, and…

When the Joy Is Mixed with Fear

Here is Easter according to Mark 16:1-8, the joyful proclamation that we hear from the mysterious messenger in the tomb: “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised! He’s not here anymore!” But for as good as this good news is, it’s sandwiched in between a lot of despair and crippling fear. Just because Jesus is risen doesn’t mean our hearts immediately find rest. We don’t immediately experience this good…
Gardening tools and spring flowers in the garden. Gardening concept.

New Creation

As John 20 begins, three days after Jesus’ death and right before dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene approaches the tomb where her grief has brought her and sees that the stone in front of it has already been rolled away. Thinking there has been a grave robbery, she runs to tell the other disciples. Peter and “the beloved disciple” (whose real name is never told to us) now run to the tomb. The beloved disciple looks…