Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Here at GMUMC, we are wrapping up a sermon series about what it means to be the C/church. This week, we are learning from Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the ten bridesmaids. Take time to read it...read it here
One of the messages of this parable is about timeliness, and what we are to do while we wait. And we hate to wait. Whether its on the phone for the next customer service representative, in our cars as we slow to 20mph through a school zone, to endure a slow internet connection, or at the doctor's office for our never-on-time appointment, waiting is hard.
Jesus is teaching about the kingdom of God. It will be like this...ten bridesmaids wait for the wedding, but the foolish ones ran out of oil for their lamps, while the wise ones were prepared for the delay.
Jesus is teaching us to embrace the waiting, not by twiddling our thumbs, but actively "filling our lamps." We become filling stations of oil for our lamps. The wise bridesmaids also keep their light shining for their community around them. They provide the light by which others may actively wait.
As a metaphor, these bridesmaids model active discipleship as the waiting continues for the coming fullness of the kingdom of God. To be like them is to shed light on the kingdom that is already here, although not fully here. We are able to pursue God by following Jesus--seeking God through studying the scriptures, loving our neighbor with acts of mercy and justice, and worshiping God with our life. We can't do that without being filled. That is something we can do! We can be prepared for the kingdom by being ready to be filled by God through prayer, worship, service, by pursuing God now, not just waiting for Jesus to come again. This is the essence of life of discipleship, and it actually makes a difference in the world. By our light, others may see God at work in the world.
Let's face it, waiting is awful. When I have to wait, I get anxious. I start thinking about what could go wrong, about what I may have forgotten. I get distracted, worried, and over time I may even lose hope in what I am waiting for. Jesus tells us through this parable that it doesn't have to be this way as we "wait" on God. We can be prepared, and share our light with the world. We can live our life in hopeful anticipation that God will use us and prepare us.
Fill yourself up. Let your light shine. Have hope. Be at peace.
O let me feel thee near me!
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but Jesus, draw thou nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.
*O Jesus, I Have Promised, The United Methodist Hymnal Number 396