“When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”
“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” – Esther 6:6-10
Birds aren’t real. According to Peter McIndoe, birds are robotic surveillance tools of the government. Peter knows this sounds absurd, and that’s the point. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, McIndoe shared about the beginning of a movement he started with some friends. While in college he was watching a political march and among the marchers were signs with conspiracy theories that sounded outrageous to him. While trying to figure out how to process what he was seeing, he decided on a whim to join in the march with a sign of his own, “Birds aren’t real”
McIndoe explained in his interview, “So it’s taking this concept of misinformation and almost building a little safe space to come together within it and laugh at it, rather than be scared by it…The vision was creating something that reflected the absurdity.” I found McIndoe’s word choice to be interesting. The etymology of “absurd” relates to being out of tune or unable to hear.
I believe it is easy to find ourselves in great difficulties because we fail to hear ourselves. When we are unable to understand our motivations, we become out of tune with ourselves. When we do not take the time to reflect on our logic, we fall out of harmony with those around us. Sometimes, the reverberations of echo chambers make it so loud we can hardly hear ourselves think.
A subplot in the great Biblical story of Esther, is a one sided feud between Haman and Mordecai. Haman is a haughty man who hates Mordecai. Haman is driven by his ego and has managed to ingratiate himself with the king. One night the king realizes he never blessed Mordecai for a great work he had done for the king. Looking for advice, the king asks Haman how to honor someone in his kingdom. While the king was thinking of Mordecai, Haman was only capable of thinking about himself. Haman was absurd, deaf to everything but his own ego and unable to hear his own pride. In the end, it is Haman’s hubris and his absurdity that lead to his eventual death in the story.
The scriptures call us to be mindful. We are encouraged to open our heart to God and ask for his spirit to search us and know us. We are called to be a people who listen to God, to others, and to ourselves. May our lives be lived in harmony.