Get ready! For what?
God is here, ready for an encounter with you and me, ready to remind us of who we are: God’s people.
It is a noisy world, however, and the call to remember often gets lost in the hubbub around us and within us. God is present in the noise, but we often forget, lose sight, drift off…
Across Scripture and through the long history of the Church, people have searched out quiet and stillness to get ready for God.
Pause a moment today. Take time to be still, to get ready.next >
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept."
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Poet Robert Burns said this (well, he actually said “gang aft agley,” but Scots-English was basically another language), and it is true. I’m a champion procrastinator. It seems I can’t do the most important things I need to do unless the deadline is bearing down on me. I work well under pressure and get my tasks done well enough… until plans go awry. Then I’m rushed and don’t do my best work.
In this passage, Jesus is talking about being prepared to take part in the Kingdom of God. He has already proclaimed that it will come suddenly, and neither people nor angels will know when.
I can put "following Jesus" on my to-do list for later, but how often do things come up and change my plans? What if, as with the bridesmaids in the parable, I fall asleep instead of getting ready? Aren’t loving God and loving our neighbor worth our freshest energy and imagination?
Jonathan Chesneynext >
Dear God, life and circumstance seem to interrupt at the worst possible times. So often, my plans get pushed aside. Please help me pay attention to my relationship with you and with my brothers and sisters — now instead of later — so that loving others gets my best effort. Amen.next >
Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey the way with us.
So be swift to love and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, and remain with us always.
Jonathan Chesney is the Assistant to the Rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, Alabama. He graduated from seminary last May, is currently serving as a transitional deacon, and, God willing and the people consenting, will be ordained a priest in December!
Teach Me to Stop and Listen