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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, July 2, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 25:1–13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 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.’ And 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. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (NRSV)

“Keep awake.” When reading this passage, “Keep awake” is what I keep coming back to. In Jesus’ parable, bridesmaids prepared by bringing adequate amounts of oil. While that helps drive home the point of the story, I don’t think that keeping awake is as simple as making sure we have adequate lighting.

This passage calls us to be prepared for Christ’s return. While this is often read as a call to make sure you are “right with God,” I see it as so much more than that. Preparation isn’t simply about waiting. It’s a constant process of being awake in our world, bringing the light of Christ’s grace and peace to all we meet, in all circumstances.

This is not an easy command to follow. There’s no way that any of us as humans can be truly prepared for Christ’s return. And the words to the foolish bridesmaids—“I do not know you”—are heartbreaking. But while I will always be ill-prepared, I have faith in the promises of Baptism—that we are sealed with Christ—and that promise spurs me to do my best to keep awake in this world.

Lord, give me the inspiration to be awake in the world, taking hold of the many opportunities you give me to prepare this world for your return. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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