This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with a headline from world news:
Amazon tribe brings ecological warning to the world
PSALM 25 8-11
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches them his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
These lines sum up a distinctively Jewish faith :
1 God is good and holy
2. Through his commndments he teaches his way to mortal men and women
3. If they are willing to learn they experience the faithful love of God.
This remains the basis of rational religion and is a discovery of permanent value.
The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
25‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids* took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.*2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.6But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”7Then all those bridesmaids* got up and trimmed their lamps.8The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.”9But 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.”10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.11Later the other bridesmaids* came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.”12But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.*
In my last blog (bible blog 783) I was using our ignorance of God’s plan for his kingdom as good reason to reject the nonsense of those who think they got it sussed. But here we see that there’s another side to our ignorance: if we don’t know when God will come to meet his people, all the more reason for us to stay awake. He may arrive at any time and expect us to welcome him. The best way to apply this parable of Jesus is to think that He comes everyday, in the guise of a neighbour, a stranger, a poor and needy person, even in our enemies, looking for our faithful response. There are no rest days for believers when they can nod off and forget about the One who’s coming, who is the true bridegroom of our souls. There may be a time, suggests the parable when our unreadiness to meet God may be catastrophic.
This quality of wakeful attention is recommended by Jesus as one of the necessary virtues of the life of faith.
(This parable was called the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Virgins, in the KJV. It is said that a young Scottish preacher with more fervour than sense once gave his sermon on this text the ringing peroration: “And now dear people I have to ask you: would you rather stay awake with the wise virgins or sleep with the foolish ones?” The congregation’s response is not recorded)