The gospel for this coming Sunday is the story that Jesus told about ten wise and foolish bridesmaids whose task was to stay awake and be ready when the bridegroom arrived. They had no clue when he would arrive, so they needed to be prepared. Five of them remembered to take extra oil with them for their lamps. The other five, for whatever reason, did not. So when their lamps were burning low and about to go out, they asked the other bridesmaids to share some of their oil. The five who had come prepared refused, and sent the others to the shops to buy oil. Of course, the bridegroom arrived while they were at the shops, so they were late getting to the banquet and were denied entrance to the feast.
The message: be prepared, because you do not know when the bridegroom will come. Matthew, who reports this story, is talking about the coming of the Reign of God, and our need to be ready for that time. You can read it all in Matthew 25:1-13
Earlier this week we were horrified at yet another mass shooting – this time in a Baptist Church while people were at worship. This intentional act of violence and destruction is yet another reminder of the fragility of life, and the dangers of our world. How are we to prepare for that? There are many ways we prepare, and ask our communities and legislators to do their part. But sometimes none of our preparations will totally keep us from suffering violence.
This Sunday there will be a baptism at St Thomas, during which the whole congregation will join in a renewal of baptismal promises. We will pray for this child, for his family, and for all of us on this journey through a world that is full of wonder and grace, and also, at times, sorrow and treachery. In all of this we know that we are in God’s love and care, and that, no matter what happens, we have been marked as Christ’s own forever.
In the meantime, we are called to remember these bridesmaids. We are called to do what we can to be prepared, not only in the everyday living of this life, but also in our spiritual lives, and our preparation for our place in the eternity of the Reign of God.
Let us pray:
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Peace and blessing