WEEK OF LENT REFLECTIONS
FLASHES OF GOD'S GLORY...STINKY FERTILIZER
THE TIME IS NOW!

Read  Luke 13: 1-9

 

Read Matthew 25: 1-13

25:1   “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6   “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7   “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9   “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10   “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11   “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’

12   “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

13   “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

 

Reflection:

It’s possible sometimes to dig in so deep with a parable that you miss the obvious point. For example, in the parable of the ten virgins above, you can get stuck trying to figure out what the lamps and oil represent. Is the oil the Holy Spirit? Is it purity or faith? Some people also get caught up trying to figure out who we are supposed to be rooting for in the parable. Are the wise virgins to be commended for having the oil they need? Or are they the bad guys… self-centered by not sharing with others in the final hour?

 

I don’t think the the parable is actually tricky, because Jesus tells us the point at the end. In verse 13 he says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” The point of this parable is clear. It is to be ready… because the bridegroom is coming.

 

For those of us who are uncomfortable with the lack of “sharing” the wise virgins do, there actually may be a point why they don’t share. In real life, God’s saving grace is not transferable. None of us can really lead someone else to faith. We can’t make someone else be prepared to receive the bridegroom. We can remind others to get oil, we can point out where the store is to buy it, we can even show them our extra oil. But being prepared for the bridegroom’s return ultimately is up to what the Holy Spirit is doing in people individually.

 

The bridegroom’s response to the foolish virgins at the door is “I don’t know you.” Again, this might seem like a somewhat silly statement in the story. Of course the bridegroom would “know” all the girls in the town. But the phrase “I do not know you” in Greek can be used both to just say that you recognize someone and to acknowledge someone as part of your family or people.

 

And I think that is the most challenging part of this parable. Apparently, we can spend our whole lives with Jesus- learning about him, going to church, reading the Bible, and going to Sunday school and still not be known by him. Being known by Jesus takes the work of God and faith or trust in Christ as both Savior and Lord. We’ve got to be ready… in our hearts.

 

Keep your lamps, trimmed and burning,
Keep your lamps, trimmed and burning,
The time is drawing nigh.
Children don’t get weary,
children don’t get weary,
till your journey’s done.
Days of darkness soon be over,
days of darkness soon be over,
the light is drawing nigh.
Keep your lamps trimmed and burning,
the time is drawing nigh.

-Spiritual

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