Our scripture reading for today is all about being prepared. It’s a parable toward the end of Matthew’s gospel and one in a set of three that focus on what’s called the Parousia or the “end times.”
In today’s parable, the scene is that of a wedding. The wedding party, not knowing exactly the timeline for their travel, would be gathered to meet the bride and groom. There were ten bridesmaids waiting for the groom’s return. We’re told right away that five of the bridesmaids were wise and five were foolish. They all got tired as the night wore on with no sign of the groom (aka Jesus) and fell asleep. The one and only thing that distinguished the foolish from the wise is that the wise bridesmaids brought extra oil so they could light their lamps when the groom arrived. The foolish bridesmaids had to go buy more lantern oil, and by the time they made it back to the wedding, the doors had closed.
What’s so special about that lantern oil? What does it symbolize? We’ll spend some time exploring this theme today.
These are challenging days for our country. They’re challenging days for all of us. We’ve all experienced, and are likely still experiencing, the heaviness of these days that mirror back to us our deep divisions. How might Jesus’ words from this quirky and unsettling parable give us guidance, inspiration…perhaps light?
Scripture passages: Matthew 25:1-13
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