Another Insightful Analogy
The text this week is Matthew 25:1-13. This is yet another metaphor for what the Kingdom of heaven will be like. It is true enough that many parts of Scripture can be difficult to discern. It was written 2000 years ago in a language not our own and referencing a very different culture. On the other hand, many parts are not so difficult to grasp. In any event, God is not trying to obfuscate, it’s just that time, culture and language get in the way. Fortunately this week’s passage offers a relatively easy message to grasp.
This is the comparison of the Kingdom of heaven to bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom to arrive and needing to keep their lamps lit, so they might greet the bridegroom when he arrives. The wise kept their lamps full of oil and therefore lit. The foolish did not and when the bridegroom arrived their lamps were going out. The bridegroom invited all those with lit lamps to the wedding banquet and the rest were shut out, for they went unseen. Pretty simple message, underlined with the final verse’s admonition to “keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour”.
What This Means Today
The question Martin Luther usually asked regarding a Scriptural passage was “what does this mean?” What I think this means to us is on the one hand quite clear: be always ready, for we do not know when Jesus is coming for us individually or the world. Jesus Himself did not know as this information belongs to the Father.
How are we to be ready today? How are we to keep our lamps filled with oil and lit? First, persevere. Responding to the gifts that God has given us is not always easy and it is possible to grow stale from time to time. We need to work through this as best we can. Stay connected with you faith community, it can and will uplift and sustain you. Stay in conversation with God, whether that be formal prayer or more informal conversation does not matter. Speak to God and listen to what He is telling you, in both Scripture, as well as through those He has placed in your lives.
As we go about doing these things it is most important to remember that we do them in response to God’s gifts of grace upon grace. These gifts are freely given, we did not and need not earn them. We trust that God’s word is true, the resurrection is real, and that Jesus Christ is Lord. We “keep our lamps lit’ to give visible witness to the One who has provided us all we need in this universe and who has prepared a place in eternity for all those who believe. There will be ups and downs in our faith journey, that is a fact of our humanity. Those ups and downs do not mean that our lamps will ever go out, if we but believe, then obey.
Praise Be to God