The city of Glasgow was shocked when it was reported that Esther Brown had been found dead in her flat on Tuesday under suspicious circumstances. It’s still hard to believe she has been murdered and those who knew her are still reeling with the sad and tragic news.
There have been many tributes in the press to Esther Brown’s good works and community service from neighbours, friends and church. She was involved in so much care in action, her description in the media as ‘a pensioner’ or ‘elderly’ seems to conjure up the wrong picture altogether. I knew little about the outward workings of her life. She didn’t talk about herself, but I understood her heart through her prayers.
We met as part of a group of ‘Prayer Pastors’ who partner up at our base in St George’s Tron church to pray for the Glasgow Street Pastors’ night patrols. I loved being paired with Esther, praying for those on the streets and interacting with the police on duty, the pastors and first aiders in the ‘safe zone’ in the church foyer. The nights were long from 10pm-4am, but they never dragged. Since the pandemic we are meeting remotely as a prayer group, and she has been a stalwart of these times on Zoom.
Esther had a deep concern for the homeless, the marginalised and the vulnerable. Her prayers were infused with love for our city, our nation and the world. Clearly her prayer life was the power behind her active service. It’s ironic to realise her life was probably taken by the very kind of person she cared and prayed for most.
In Scripture we read of another Esther – another woman who prayed. In fact, her intercession before the king and subsequent saving of her people was the most significant fact of her life. It was said of her that she had surely been brought to the palace with access to the king ‘for such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14). I believe Esther Brown had that same calling. She knew she had the ear of the King of Kings, and now as his bride she is in his very presence.
We will probably never know the full circumstances of Esther’s death, nor understand why, but the book of Esther is all about how God, who is never actually mentioned, fills its pages, working providentially behind the scenes, fitting events together for his people’s good and for his glory.
May Esther’s prayers that rose as incense before the throne be answered, may we follow her example and persevere in prayer, and may God raise up many intercessors of like passion in her place.