"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps." At 1:30 in the morning I woke, head clear as day, with the notion, "we are living in the most decadent of days." I immediately thought of entertainment, how a political commentator said yesterday, "entertainment has become so decadent as to keep our eyes averted from what matters." I thought of the news, how our society has become so rights-centric that we can no longer talk about mutual submission to our brothers in love (much less to our Lord). I thought of the church, how we're prone to following, maybe, the same self-centered, entertainment based mudslide. (For more on this topic, visit Sarah Bessey's Holy Week reflection on the topic.)
"As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered... 'go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'"
At 1:32 in the morning, I asked myself whether I am sliding into the same rot-hole of decadence. After all, isn't it difficult to see your own failings when you're content to consider the foibles of others? And in that, isn't it easy to excuse degrees of failings because, let's be honest, at least your not as bad as so-and-so? Isn't it easy to be influenced (even a wee bit) by the very culture we say we eschew?
"And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"
At 1:33 in the morning, heart racing like a jack-rabbit, I asked whether I was ready to receive him. I mean, really ready to receive him. And I'm not talking some old-school, Southern Baptist notion of prayed-the-prayer-walked-the-aisle-and-saved kind of ready to meet him. I wondered whether my lamps were trimmed, whether I'm prepared for dawning of the coming not-yet, or whether I've been shortsighted, prepared for anything but.
I wondered whether my heart thumped with excitement, or terror.
"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
Lord, have Mercy.
Questions: Are you prepared, waiting expectantly for the coming of the King? In what ways do you find yourself unprepared?
*Scripture reading for Holy Tuesday found at Matthew 25:1-13.
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Cover photo by jasleen_kaur via Creative Commons.