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 >
"But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’"
Matthew 25:6-9next >
Okay, okay, I know we get the point: it’s better to have things done ahead of time so we can manage last minute emergencies or unexpected surprises. I sure could save myself some headaches if I could just manage to do things ahead of time.
Jesus is using this parable to make a specific point about readiness for the Kingdom, but I can't help being troubled by the wise bridesmaids. Their response to the others makes me a little uncomfortable. Is the oil really so calculated and important that they can’t share what they have to help their friends out? Yes, the foolish bridesmaids made a mistake for a big occasion, but that’s it? They’re out?
Well, Scripture is full of stories and teachings about God's grace and mercy and forgiveness. These are primary ways we understand God. So maybe it’s helpful, even if uncomfortable, to read about consequences for being foolish — for not being ready to follow Christ when we have the chance. We need to try our best.
Jonathan Chesneynext >
God, I’m imperfect and sometimes I act foolishly instead of wisely. Sometimes I act wisely and others act foolishly. I trust your mercy, but I also want to do my best for you. Help me own the consequences of my actions. Help me to do better when I act the fool and give me a generous heart to share what I can with those who have not planned ahead. 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