Esther: Chapter 3

A modern interpretation of the Old Testament book of Esther

Previous chapter here.

Esther and Mordecai by Arent de Gelder 1645-1727

One of Ceres King’s business advisors, Adrian Hammand, seemed to have King’s ear more than other directors and company officials. Most directors, and other officials within King’s company deferred to Hammand, usually with the hope of ingratiating themselves through Hammand with  Ceres King. Matt Mortlake, unlike the other directors and staff did not try to curry favour either himself or vicariously through Haman.

When Matt Mortlake’s refusal to accede to Hammand’s views on business came to his ears, Haman set about plotting to get Mortlake sacked. Hammand wanted not only rid of Mortlake but also members of the trade union, of which Mortlake though not a member but was known to listen to the union officials. Haman would dress his plan as efficiency and money-saving measures to improve the company balance sheet.

Laying out his idea before Ceres King, Hammand didn’t find it hard to secure King’s approval to the prospect of boosting profits and efficiency. Keeping the details between himself and King, even excluding the other directors, Haman had letters prepared to all the regional managers. They were to find excuses, under the guise of rationalisation within the company, to make redundant all union members. Such a move would destroy Mortlake’s support within the company, effectively forcing him out.

Chapter 4 next week.

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Esther: Chapter 2

A modern interpretation of the Old Testament book of Esther

Previous chapter here.

Esther supplants Vash.

Vashti Refuses the King’s Summons, by Edwin Long

When applications and referrals began to arrive from the recruitment agencies to fill Vash’s position, Ceres King took little interest to begin with, content to leave matters in the hands of his personnel department now that his initial irritation with Vash had subsided, at least until a shortlist could be put to him.

When the shortlist of potential candidates had been selected, they were all invited to a residential selection process which would culminate in selection of a single individual to fill the vacant directorship. Selection would take place at a country house hotel, owned by Ceres King’s friend Thomas Heggerty, hired for the purpose. The candidates would be allowed the full use of facilities at the hotel including sports, leisure and beauty treatments during their stay.

Matt Mortlake or Morti as he was often called, an under manager in King’s business empire, thought that the position in Ceres King’s company might be suitable for his cousin Esther, who had recently finished a business studies degree. He had raised her after the death of her parents, a result of a road accident.

Esther wasn’t on the shortlist of candidates, nevertheless Morti persuaded King’s personnel manager to let her fill the place of a candidate who had failed to arrive for the selection process. The personnel manager wasn’t hard to persuade. Esther charmed him as she seemed able to charm everyone with her wit and beauty.

When Ceres King met with the candidates for the directorship, like everyone else he was charmed by Esther. He immediately wanted to hire her but for the sake of appearances continued to interview the remaining shortlisted candidates. A week later, Esther was summoned by Ceres King and formally offered the position his wife had previously held.

While Ceres King had been interviewing the candidates for the position in his company, Esther’s cousin Morti had chanced to overhear a conversation between two high officials of the company. Bingham and Taplin were apparently plotting to depose Ceres King from the presidency of the company he had founded.

Morti told his cousin Esther of what he had heard and she in turn informed Ceres King. King immediately sacked Bingham and Taplin without either severance pay or references.

Esther: Chapter 1

A modern interpretation of the Old Testament book of Esther.

Vash Deposed.

Vashti Refuses to Appear before Ahasuerus, Azor Masters ca. 1430 Queen

The dinner seemed to be going well. The guests were in a good mood, the food being enjoyed and the wine flowed freely. The only person who didn’t seem to be enjoying the company’s 10th anniversary celebration, was the president and, as of the anniversary, non executive director, Ceres King. 

Vash, Ceres King’s wife was hosting her own party that same evening, much to her husband’s annoyance. He’d wanted her at the company celebration to display a united front to his guests.

Amongst Vash’s guests, as well as her own friends and acquaintances, were wives of some of the attendees to her husband’s company’s anniversary celebration. Vash was part owner and a director of Kings Property Enterprises, though her husband never mentioned this to his colleagues and business associates.

Ceres already considered his wife’s non attendance at the company ‘s event reflected badly on himself and the company. His irritation growing to annoyance by the time dinner was served,  and anger as the evening progressed and his intake of wine increased.

Next morning still angry, not helped by a hangover with a splitting headache, he was in the company solicitor’s office demanding to know what he could do about, what he considered ,his wife’s poor behaviour. Her failure to accompany him, he thought, reflected badly on the company in front of investors and shareholders.

Legally, the solicitor informed Ceres King, he could remove his wife’s directorship, though this would need to be done with some care and a suitable pretext, since Vash was a shareholder in the company. However, the lawyer reminded Ceres, the company articles would require him to appoint a new director in Vash’s place.

Before the end of the day in which he had spoken with the solicitor, Ceres kIng had the personnel department drafting a letter to be circulated to some of the main executive recruitment and headhunting agencies.

Chapter 2 next Sunday.

Significance

Mankind’s place in creation.

Pale Blue Dot photograph of Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by Voyager 1 space probe

I think that everyone likes to think that they have some significance, that they mean something or contribute something, that their life has some meaning. At some stage in each life, I think that everyone contributes something to some degree.

For most of us individually our significance is probably within a relatively small circle of people, friends, our employe, maybe clubs we’re a member of. We contribute to the significance of those groups of which we are members, communities, charities, political parties for example.

For a few people, politicians, national and global business leadres, top sportsmen and women, they are individually hugely significant, perhaps too much so especially sportspeople and entertainers.

Often the degree of significance grows with the size of group perhaps even country, sometimes by population sometimes by wealth, But what is the significance of humanity?

We almost certainly overstate our global collective significance. Human arrogance perhaps? I think that the picture I’ve included with this post might be a reasonable illustration of humanity’s significance in the great scheme of things. Can you see the pale blue dot? That’s us, planet Earth.

The picture was taken at the edge of our solar system. The next nearest star to our own sun, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light years away. Our sun is roughly 8 light minutes away. Beyond Alpha Centauri are billions of other stars at even greater unimaginable distances. Is this the real measure of humanity’s significance?

The Blame Game

Who is really culpable?

Adam and Eve. Hans Holbein the Younger 1497/8 – 1543

How often have you heard someone trying to avoid blame for something. It happens so often it’s become taken for granted in so many cases. Organisations blame each other, for failing to fulfill a contract. Charities blame each other for impacting their donations. School children who get caught misbehaving say something like “it wasn’t me, it was” …..

Perhaps the biggest blame game of all is played by politicians, both indivually and collectively. Here in Great Britian members of our parliament within the chamber of government itself seem more intent in scoring points by allocating blame, than spelling out their own policies.

Of course there is nothing new in the blame game, it probably began as soon as humans began to develop a language. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the first phrases spoken was ‘He did it.’

The blame game starts early in the Bible too, in the very first book, Genesis. After Adam and Eve realise, in the garden of Eden, that they are naked God asks Adam “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Adam’s immediate reaction is to try to shift the blame to Eve saying “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree”.

While possibly unintended through an unconsidered, probably knee jerk reaction, Adam’s attempt to blame his wife actually directs the blame towards God himself. He should not have prefaced “she gave me some fruit from the tree” with “The woman you put here with me”.

Of course it is possible to take this particular blame game even further. It might be inferred that Adam’s attempt to shift the blame comes full circle, placing the blame firmly back upon himself.  After all, wasn’t Eve created out of Adam?

Post inspired by Rev’d Ian W’s sermon.